Saturday, September 15, 2012

Peach Leather

Having already frozen and dried (in slices) large quantities of peaches this year, I decided to try something different with the box of peaches in our fridge that was threatening to go bad before we could eat them.  I had never made fruit leather before and had been wanting to try it.  Turns out it's easy, and the end product is delicious - not to mention pure fruit, and thus more nutritious than most commercial fruit leathers.

I used my home dehydrator (I have this one, with two additional trays), and it took about 8 hours, which is shorter than it usually takes to dry peach slices.

Puree the peaches, making sure the puree is totally smooth - no chunks.  Cover the dehydrator trays with plastic wrap (unless you have the fruit leather tray inserts).  Cut out holes in the middle where the heating element/fan will go, making sure that the plastic wrap will not be in contact with the heating element.  Also leave a little space around the outer edge for the air to circulate.  Carefully spread the peach puree onto the plastic wrap on the trays, 1/8-inch thick.  Turn on the dehydrator and run it until the leather is totally dry, though it will still be somewhat sticky.  Peel off the plastic wrap and turn the leather rounds over, then let them sit for another several hours before putting them away.

To store fruit leather, you can cut it into strips and put it in a jar or plastic container; however they may stick together, especially over time.  Alternatively, you can keep the leather in large pieces and roll it up with some plastic wrap, then store in a sealed bag or container and cut off pieces as you want them.

This technique works with other fruits as well.  For very juicy berries (raspberries, blueberries, etc), it is best to mix with applesauce.  Apples need to be cooked into applesauce.  You can also add ingredients such as cooked sweet potato if desired.

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