My all-time favorite snack as a child was fruit roll-ups. Over the years, this snack has proven itself to be a lunch box favorite among kids of all ages.
When purchasing fruit roll ups from commercial grocery stores, I am always concerned with the unnecessary additions of ingredients such as dyes and corn syrup. Not to mention the price tag is another issue I have. Fruit rolls should only contain fruit puree, water and perhaps some sweetener (if that). Partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, corn syrup and artificial flavorings should not be present.
What if I told you that you make fruit roll-ups easily and frugally? All you need to make your favorite fruit roll ups is fruit, a blender and a a heat source such as a dehydrator, oven or even the sun.
Alternatively, for an off-grid solution to making dehydrated fruits and vegetables, I have read where on hot days, people dehydrate fruits andvegetables in the back of their cars, used covered bbq pit (not in use of course), or the most traditional way of making fruit leather was just to tent the tray with some cheesecloth and leave it outside in the sun on a hot day.
If you have a lot of fruits on hand that are not being eaten, you can quickly turn them into fruit roll ups. Some of my family’s favorite fruits are:
How to Make Fruit Leather:
4 c. of fresh fruit
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. lemon juice
Sugar or sweetener (if needed)
* Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)
Oven Method Instructions:
- Rinse the fruit. If you working with stone fruit, take out the pits, chop the fruit. If working with apples or pears, peel and core them, then chop. If working with grapes, de-stem them.
- Do a taste test to see how sweet the fruit is. If very sweet you will not need to add any sugar.
- Place fruit in a large saucepan. Add a half cup of water for every 4 cups of chopped fruit. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the fruit is soft and cooked through.
- Use a blender or food mill to puree the fruit. The purée should be very smooth.
- Add sugar in small amounts to desired level of sweetness. Continue to simmer and stir until any added sugar is completely dissolved and the fruit purée has thickened, another 5 or 10 minutes (or more).
- To brighten the flavor, adding 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg to augment the flavor.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with sturdy plastic wrap (the kind that is microwave safe). Brush a small amount of vegetable or olive oil on the plastic wrap to ensure the fruit puree does not stick. Pour out the purée into the lined baking sheet to about an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven, try to keep any plastic wrap from touch the sides of the oven or the oven racks. Also try to make sure that the plastic wrap hasn’t folded back over on top of the purée. If this happens, the purée won’t dry out. Heat the oven to a low 140°F. If you have a convection setting, use it, it will speed up the process and help dry out the purée. Let dry in the oven like this for as long as it takes for the purée to dry out and form fruit leather. We usually keep it in the oven overnight, so about 8-12 hours.
- The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky, but has a smooth surface. When the fruit leather is ready, you can easily peel it up from the plastic wrap. To store it, roll it in its plastic wrap or use a cookie cutter to cut into fun shapes.
- Store fruit roll ups in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Food Dehydrator Method Instructions
- Follow the above steps 1-7.
- Line food dehydrator trays with sturdy plastic wrap (the kind that is microwave safe). Pour out the purée into the lined trays to about an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.
- Set dehydrator to 135 degrees and allow to dehydrate between 8-12 hours. The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky, but has a smooth surface and can easily be peeled.
- Roll it in its plastic wrap or use a cookie cutter to cut into fun shapes.
Once the fruit puree is dehydrated, roll up the leathers into the plastic wrap.
Using scissors, cut into small strips and store in a cool, dry space or in the refrigerator or the freezer.
Making your own fruit roll ups is a cost effective solution to ensuring that your children are eating a healthy snack. Bon Appetit!