Fruit Leather


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This age-old process couldn't be simpler. The lightly sweetened purees of fruits and berries, spread in thin layers and left in the sun, dry into translucent sheets of fruit that are chewy and good. Here's how you can make your own fruit leathers.

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  • You need only a smooth level surface, such as a table; a place to put it in full sun; and a roll of clear plastic wrap. Tear off strips of the wrap, stretch it across the drying surface, and fasten with cellophane tape. To keep the fruit clean while drying, stretch a sheet of cheesecloth over it; you can secure it to two 2 by 4-inch boards on either side, taking care to keep it from touching the puree.

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Wash fruit and prepare each as directed below; it should be fully ripe. Cut away any blemishes; then measure (up to 5 pts. for any one batch). Add sugar and heat as directed. Remove from heat and whirl (part at a time, if necessary) in a blender or put through a food mill or wire strainer; cool to lukewarm. Pour puree onto prepared surface and spread to 1/2 inch thick (a full 5-pt. batch covers a 30-inch-long strip of 12-inch-wide plastic film). For berries, remove stems and measure whole berries. Use 1 1/2 Tbs. sugar for each C. raspberries (1 C. for 5 pts.), or 2 1/2 Tbs. sugar for each C. blackberries (1 1/2 C. sugar for 5 pts.). Boil berries, stirring, until liquid appears syrupy; then put through a food mill or wire strainer to remove some of the seeds; spread the berries about 3/16 inch thick. The Drying: It may take 20 to 24 hours to dry, depending on the fruit and the sun's heat By the end of the first day it should be dry enough that you can loosen tape, slip a baking sheet underneath, and carry it inside; return to sun the next morning. When firm to touch, try peeling the fruit sheet off the plastic. It is sufficiently dry when the whole sheet can be pulled off the plastic without puree adhering. (Don't leave in sun longer than needed.) In humid climates, you may need to finish the drying indoors. Set the sheets of fruit on pans in a 140-150 degree (F) oven and leave oven door slightly open Storing Roll up sheets of fruit leather, while on plastic film, then cover that with more plastic and seal tightly. Color and flavor keep well about one month at room temperature, four months in refrigerator, or one year if frozen.

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