How to Make Fruit Leather
The chewy strips of dried fruit commonly known as “fruit leather” are a lunchbox staple and popular snack item. Lighter and more portable than fresh fruit, dehydrated fruit is great for taking on hikes, bike rides, or any trip where you may need a quick and tasty snack.
Children of the 1980s (or parents of young kids at the time) may remember the popularity of Fruit Roll-Ups, which were advertised widely and promoted as a healthy snack. However, those and many fruit or veggie snacks are often loaded with extra sugar, and sometimes don’t even include much actual fruit!
Here are things to keep in mind when you shop for fruit leather:
- Make sure the first ingredient is real fruit. Fruit, or fruit puree, is full of nutrients and is naturally sweet.
- Check the fiber content. Whole fruits are full of fiber, so if there’s a high amount of fiber listed on the ingredients label, it was made with real fruit.
- It should have little to no added sugar. Look out for words like cane sugar, tapioca or corn syrup, or fruit juice concentrate. Fruit is sweet on it’s own — adding a lot of sugar to it makes it candy, not a healthy snack.
- Avoid artificial ingredients such as preservatives, flavoring, and colors.
Of course, the best way to find healthy fruit leather is to make it yourself! If you don’t have a dehydrator, don’t worry. It’s easy to make fruit leather by baking fruit puree in an oven for a long time on low heat. You will, however, need a blender or food processor to puree your fruit.
Here are some fruit leather recipes to get you started, but once you get the basic timing down, you can create your own flavor combinations — it’s a fun snack to make with the kids, too!
This recipe requires just two ingredients you may have in your kitchen right now: blueberries and an apple. Puree them together in a blender, then spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. In a few hours, you’ll have a delicious fruit leather you can cut into long strips or bite-size chunks.
Next time your bananas start to go bad, don’t toss them — turn them into fruit leather! This recipe requires only four ripe bananas, a greased baking sheet, and about two hours of cooking time to create tasty banana bars.
This recipe is great for taking advantage of strawberry season! Combine strawberries and fresh lemon juice in a blender, then heat the puree in a saucepan. Add a little honey, if you like, then spread the mixture on a pan and bake until tacky.
If you have a hard time getting your kids to eat their greens, sneak them into their fruit leather! This recipe combines green apple with spinach, water, and cinnamon, then is baked until firm and cut and rolled into strips. It’s an easy and tasty way to disguise a serving of veggies as a treat.