If there was one snack that the nerdlets and I could all agree on it would be fruit snacks. Unfortunately, just about every traditional fruit snack on the market these days comes with a TON of added sugar and preservatives. Not only is all of that added stuff not very good for you, but it also is completely unnecessary in most cases! So many fruits are naturally sweet and packed with flavor without having to add a single thing! Going DIY in the kitchen and making your own homemade fruit leather is a fantastic alternative to boxed fruit snacks. It allows you to control everything that goes into your snack from sugars to preservatives, and everything else!
We are big fans of fresh strawberries around here so we decided to make strawberry fruit leather. However, just about any fruit will work beautifully in this recipe. You can pick your favorite or blend a few to make your own unique flavors. Plums, peaches, and even grapes work beautifully in this recipe!
How to Make Homemade Fruit Leather
There are a few different variations of this recipe out there. We are keeping things as simple as possible to help make this a recipe that anyone can do. In addition, it doesn’t take a ton of prep time in the kitchen to come up with a great final product. You can adjust this basic recipe by adding your own special touches or leave it as is for a super tasty basic strawberry homemade fruit leather.
4 C fresh strawberries
Chop strawberries into fourths. If you have any extra-large strawberries you can chop them a few more times so that all of the pieces are around the same size. You don’t need to chop them too small. Just do a rough chop to quarter them.
Blend until strawberries are completely broken down into a smoothie-like consistency. You don’t want any large chunks left but rather more of a puree. Of course, the strawberry seeds will still be visible but that’s ok.
Pour strawberry puree through a sieve to remove any pieces that may be left over. You can do it right onto a parchment-lined baking sheet if you prefer. If you aren’t an octopus, though, it may be easier to put your sieve over a mixing bowl and transfer your strawberries from the blender to the bowl before pouring them onto the baking sheet.
Use a flexible spatula to smooth your strawberry puree all along the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. You want to use paintbrush-like strokes to be sure that you have an even layer throughout the sheet. If you have any thinner areas they may burn while cooking. Any areas that are too thick may not cook properly.
Place your baking sheet in a 200 degree F oven for about 2 to 4 hours. You want to rotate your baking sheet at 30-minute intervals to ensure that the whole surface is cooking evenly. Be sure to keep an eye on your baking sheet. The most difficult part of making homemade fruit leather is determining when to remove your mixture from the oven. An easy way to test for doneness is to try to remove a corner of your leather from the parchment paper. If you notice that it isn’t removing easily it is a good bet that you need a little longer. Don’t rush things here. It will be ready eventually, I promise!
When your fruit leather is done cooking you want to let it cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears cut your fruit leather into long strips. You want to leave it attached to the parchment paper for easy storage. Roll each of your strips up just like a fruit by the foot. You can use string to keep it rolled of just leave it as is. They stay rolled up pretty well on their own without needing any extra steps.
How to Store Homemade Fruit Leather
You can store your homemade fruit leather at room temperature for about a month. I keep mine in a large zipper bag to help keep them fresh. You can use any resealable container that you have available.
If you would like your fruit leather to last a little longer ( good luck with that because this stuff is SO GOOD!) you can put it in the freezer in a zipper bag for up to a year.