The easiest way to take your cooking to the next level is to use better ingredients.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fruit Leather

I've been overwhelmed by peaches and nectarines lately that all come ripe at once and mold quickly. Instead of letting all that ripe food go bad, I've been trying to utilize preserving methods. Fruit leather has been one of the answers that my family loves. Fruit leather is one of those things where you don't need are a recipe, just a how-to. I used peaches for this batch of leather, but you can use almost any fruit, or combination of fruit using the same basic steps.

First, I pitted the peaches and threw them in a big pot skins and all. You could skin the peaches for a smoother texture if you are willing to take the time.

I put on the lid and boiled them down in their own juices, stirring occasionally. You can add sugar if you want, but I chose not to. Once the fruit is soft you can use a stick blender to puree it, or puree it in a blender or food processor in batches.

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting. Mine is 200 degrees.

Spread out the pureed fruit on the prepared parchment paper very thinly. If it is too thick it will take forever to dry. Also, if you spread it terribly uneven then you are going to be kicking yourself during the drying process because the thinnest spots will get crispy waiting for the thick spots to dry making for a weird fruit roll up.

Pop them in the oven and TURN OFF THE OVEN. Walk away and leave it for an hour. Come back and turn on the oven again, then turn it off immediately when it reaches temperature (the lowest setting). Walk away for another hour. Check it this time to see how it is drying. It is done when it just sticky to the touch instead of wet. It may take 2 hours it may take upwards of 6 or 8 hours. It all depends on the humidity that day. Just keep turning the oven on and off every hour until it dries.

Then, just cut it into strips, roll it if you'd like, and store it in an air tight container. It should stay good for about a month.

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