I never realised just how simple and easy fruit leathers are to make. Of course the store bought ones are full of additives and preservatives, they’re also mostly full of either apple or pear with just enough of the “main” fruit to flavour it, since apples and pears are considerably cheaper.
We had a punnet of raspberries sitting in the fridge waiting for me to gain the impetus to make leathers out of them. I had decided that that was what I was going to use them for. Life got in the way, and when I finally got around to making the leathers I pulled the raspberries out…. and threw them straight in the compost heap. I may have left it too long.
But I was in the mood now to make leathers, what else did we have around the house. The answer came from the freezer, frozen blackberries. I had them from when I made the apple and blackberry cobblers. I love their tangy sweetness, they would make perfect leathers.
So they were sat on the side until they defrosted (the microwave may have helped a little when I got impatient!) and into the food processor they went. Since I am most definitely not a fan of the seeds I strained the puree and then put it back in the processor to add a touch of honey (just to taste, remembering that the flavour will be more intense once dried), and a little bit of vanilla.
From here it can either go in the oven or a dehydrator. My preference (since we have one) is the dehydrator. It comes with flat trays just for this purpose, spread the puree out thinly.. really thinly. And then set it going, if you look at the top ours says fruit should be done at 135F. I chose to do it at 105F since any temperature above 115F can denature/kill the natural enzymes in the fruit the lower temperature is preferable though it will take longer.
If you don’t have a dehydrator don’t worry, your oven will be just fine and dandy. Place parchment on a cookie sheet and spread the puree on that, thinly. Set your oven to the lowest temperature it will do.
Obviously, in both cases, leave the fruit in there until it is completely dry. Once dry it can be cut up with a pizza cutter or even a pair of scissors. It will stick to itself so roll up with wax paper or parchment and store in an airtight container. If you don’t eat it all as you’re cutting it up *grins*
Now, I made several mistakes with my leathers. Leading to them looking rather ugly. Firstly, I didn’t grease or line the tray that went into the dehydrator… it didn’t even cross my mind until it was too late. So they stuck. Add to that the fact that in places I had left the puree too thick, so it dried unevenly. At the end of 24 hours I peeled and tore off the pieces that were done, leaving the rest for longer. After a second day they were still sticky and not getting any better, they were too think. So it was all carefully peeled off of the tray. It looked thick, and ragged and everything it wasn’t supposed to be. Finally, I ate about 3/4 of it as I was taking it out the tray it was that tasty.. not that this really counts as a mistake, but it later made me sad that I couldn’t share them with people.
Lessons learned! Even a failure teaches you things you would never know otherwise.