Remember Fruit Roll Ups? Did you ever think of making them at home?
If it’s summer or fall, you might enjoy beginning this activity a day or so early by getting the kids to help pick berries or other fruit. In the off season, have some fruits ready to go in the freezer.
As yet another activity, you can first make a healthy, delicious juice before making fruit leather! Using a fruit press or common kitchen tools such as a sieve and a wooden spatula, kids can have some messy fun squishing fruit to make juice. This works well with blackberries, grapes, and many more. Be sure to refrigerate unused juice and consume within a few days to avoid fermentation.
Now, what to do with the left over fruit pulp, or any overripe fruits you have around? Make a healthy fruit leather of course!
The great thing is that sugar is optional, so you can opt for a healthier version. If it needs sweetening, try maple syrup or a bit of stevia.
Here are the steps:
- Wash, pit and chop fruit. Measure how many cups of fruit you have. Then the kids can mash fruit in a bowl with a potato masher for fun.
- Let kids add fruit to saucepan, and add water if cooking (1:8 ratio of water:fruit).
- Simmer 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. Mash with potato masher. (Cooking method not necessary).
- Taste to determine whether lemon or sweetener are needed. Add by the teaspoon to taste. Add optional spices, ground flax or ground chia.
- Puree until very smooth in blender or food processor.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a silicone baking mould. Pour puree onto lined baking sheet.
- If you don’t have a food dehydrator, heat oven to 140F (very low). Place baking sheet into oven for 8-12 hours, or until dried out. Use convection setting if available.
Roll it up and store in fridge.
A fun alternative to using a dehydrator or oven is to get the kids to be creative on a hot, sunny day. Will it dry out in a sunny window? In a barbecue turned off? Can you put something over it to trap heat and still circulate air? Can they create an oven using an old window over a box in the sun? With these methods, be sure to keep out fruit flies and other bugs using cheesecloth. Use an oven thermometer to gauge the experiments and talk about solar energy!
Here are some websites for fruit leather recipes:
Are you excited to plan for the season of picking, juicing, using solar heat and making fruit leather rolls?
Tara Beninger is from Victoria. She likes eating the local fruit and picking blackberries with kids at the edge of the park.