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Eat Well Sep. 6. 2013
Snacks

Fruit Leather | Apple Cinnamon, Strawberry, and Pear

Sep. 6. 2013
Snacks
McKel Hill

McKel Hill

MS, RDN, LDN, Dietitian

School is back in full swing and children’s lunch boxes (and yours) are to be packed and filled with goodies! One of my favorite treats as a little me was fruit leather (a.k.a. fruit roll-ups!). They were tasty, sweet, sticky, and chewy all rolled into one fun little package. Knowing now what I do about nutrition and whole food sources, I’ll pass on the store bought fruit leathers which are loaded with extra sugar and rarely contain actual fruit. But that’s not to say I don’t still enjoy these treats, so today let’s make our own! That’s right homemade Fruit Leathers, in multiple flavors perfect for the fall season or anytime of year. Introducing Apple Cinnamon, Strawberry, and Pear Fruit Leather!

What are fruit leathers? No these are not made with leather, the word leather is purely used to describe the texture! Natural and deliciously sweet fruit disguised in a fun, rolled-up, chewy portable package. These are perfect because kids feel like their getting a “treat” in actuality it’s simply a piece of fresh fruit! (shhh, I won’t tell if you won’t).

Fruit is already sweet enough, I choose to not add any extra sugar in these as most recipes add in the extra sugar. For example, let’s look a a popular fruit roll-up nutrition label } for 1 serving it contains, 12 carbohydrates (7g being from sugar) and 70 calories- on paper the nutrition facts aren’t too bad. Now let’s take a look at the most important item of the commercial brand of fruit roll-ups, the ingredients list: fruit from concentrate, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, dried corn syrup, and several artificial colorings. Notice, the lack of real fruit and five different sources of sugar?

I certainly don’t want to be putting all those ingredients/sugars in my body and if I had children I definitely wouldn’t want them consuming products like this on a daily basis. Nutrition Stripped’s version of Fruit Leather (a.k.a. fruit roll-ups) doesn’t need any of the previously mentioned ingredients, actually I only use 3 ingredients to make these delicious fruit leathers! Three versus up to twenty ingredients in most other brands!

 Pictured // Apple Cinnamon + Pear + Strawberry before dehydrating; fruit leather after dehydrating!

Pictured // Apple Cinnamon (Left), Pear + Strawberry (Right)

 

Fruit Leather | Apple Cinnamon, Strawberry, & Pear
Cuisine: snack
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16
An assortment of healthy and delicious apple, strawberry, and pear fruit-roll up with less than 3 ingredients! Ingredients
Ingredients
  • 4 large fuji apples, 4 cups (or type of your choice)
  • 4 large pears, 4 cups
  • 5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice for each fruit mixture (3 Tbs. total)
  • 1 Tbs. chia seeds (for apple fruit mixture)
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon (for apple mixture, this is optional)
  • stevia for additional sweetness (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting possible, 140-170 degrees F OR use a dehydrator at 155 degrees if you have one (this is what I used to make these).
  2. APPLE MIXTURE//
  3. Blend the raw apples into a Vitamix or high speed blender until pureed.
  4. Add in cinnamon, lemon juice and chia seeds.
  5. Stir until combined.
  6. STRAWBERRY MIXTURE//
  7. Blend the raw strawberries (hulled) into a Vitamix or high speed blender until pureed.
  8. Add in lemon juice.
  9. Stir until combined.
  10. PEAR MIXTURE//
  11. Blend the raw pears into a Vitamix or high speed blender until pureed.
  12. Add in lemon juice.
  13. Stir until combined.
  14. After you have each mixture prepared separately, pour each mixture onto a separate dehydrator sheet lined with parchment paper.
  15. “Bake”//dehydrate for 6-8 hours depending on your oven settings, checking at 6 hours.
  16. You will know these are finished when they are no longer sticking to your fingers or “gooey”. They should be slightly sticky but will not stick to your finger when testing the texture.
Notes
Apple mixture// makes 8 servings[br]Pear mixture// makes 4 servings[br]Strawberry mixture// makes 4 servings[br]*Note the nutrition information is a guideline as it will vary depending on how much fruit you choose to use and if you add additional sweetener (which is not in the recipe)

Nutrition Information | will vary if you cut in smaller sections or rolls than mentioned serving size.

  • Apple Cinnamon (1/8th mixture) // 65 calories, 16g carbohydrates (11g sugar, 3g fiber), <1g protein
  • Strawberry (1/4th mixture) // 95 calories, 22 carbohydrates (15g sugar, 5g fiber), 1g protein
  • Pear (1/4th mixture) // 104 calories,  28g carbohydrates (16g sugar, 5g fiber)

I use an Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator for this recipe. No dehydrator? No worries! This recipe can be made using your oven at the lowest settings possible and the end result will still be just as wonderful! We all must exercise patience when waiting for these to dehydrate.

TIPS |

  • Shapes // Gently press a cookie cutter in the fruit roll-up mixture after it’s been cooled on wax paper, this will create a fun easy to peel off design for the kids!
  • No moisture // Place the finished dehydrated fruit leathers into a plastic bag on the counter, if any moisture is present in the bag- put these back into the oven or dehydrator to make sure all moisture is gone!
  • This is the perfect recipe for using fruit that’s getting too ripe on your counter- no waste here.
  • Presentation // Wrap in wax paper and tie with a string.
  • Chips// don’t over-bake or dehydrate this will cause them to not be chewy and more like fruit “chips”, which are still delicious!

Now you can feel a little better about sending your little one to school with a sweet treat that’s sure to keep them satisfied but also delivering some healthy nutrition to them. Even if you don’t have kids, the kid in you will absolutely love these for a great snack!

What were your favorite chewy and sweet treats as a kid? Share below!

Happy Friday everyone,

xo McKel

The Recipe

Serves 16

Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 large fuji apples, 4 cups (or type of your choice)
  • 4 large pears, 4 cups
  • 5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice for each fruit mixture (3 Tbs. total)
  • 1 Tbs. chia seeds (for apple fruit mixture)
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon (for apple mixture, this is optional)
  • stevia for additional sweetness (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting possible, 140-170 degrees F OR use a dehydrator at 155 degrees if you have one (this is what I used to make these).
  2. APPLE MIXTURE//
  3. Blend the raw apples into a Vitamix or high speed blender until pureed.
  4. Add in cinnamon, lemon juice and chia seeds.
  5. Stir until combined.
  6. STRAWBERRY MIXTURE//
  7. Blend the raw strawberries (hulled) into a Vitamix or high speed blender until pureed.
  8. Add in lemon juice.
  9. Stir until combined.
  10. PEAR MIXTURE//
  11. Blend the raw pears into a Vitamix or high speed blender until pureed.
  12. Add in lemon juice.
  13. Stir until combined.
  14. After you have each mixture prepared separately, pour each mixture onto a separate dehydrator sheet lined with parchment paper.
  15. “Bake”//dehydrate for 6-8 hours depending on your oven settings, checking at 6 hours.
  16. You will know these are finished when they are no longer sticking to your fingers or “gooey”. They should be slightly sticky but will not stick to your finger when testing the texture.

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Did you try it out?

Share Your Thoughts & Images

  • Luke

    I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a food dehydrator. Found it!

  • McKel… these look amazing! I will absolutely have to try. Thanks for sharing, beautiful girl!

  • Helen

    Beautiful pictures! I want to make everything!

    • Thank you Helen! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe, thanks for stopping by and come back soon 🙂

  • Kristalia Astari

    My mom made these for us as little ones but I remember that it was once in a blue moon and that we always begged her to make them. I also remember them not being that sticky actually but very chewy and very nummy. My hubby and I have a 4 year old little girl and we have been giving he the fruit leathers from Trader Joe’s which only have the real fruit and Vitamin C. Though I really want to start making them myself and will once we get a blender/mixer/food processor. So I’ve cataloged your recipe away for future use ^_^ Thanks so much for sharing 😀

    • Wonderful Kristalia! Yes, you will be surprised at how easy they are to make when you have a blender or processor that will puree the fruit- even without the dehydrator you can make them in a standard oven. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon!

  • Alina

    What a great recipe! Can’t wait to try this!
    PS-thank you for being so inspirational!

    • Thank you so very much! It’s a great one and I’m actually sippin’ on it as I type! Thanks for stopping by and come back soon 🙂

  • I grew up eating fruit roll ups the non healthy version of those healthy fruit treats you made above. I’m going to have to give these a try soon! Makes for such a pretty presentation 🙂
    http://www.prettybitchescancooktoo.com

    • Me too! I loved them, but this version is so much healthier and they taste amazing. Hope you enjoy them. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon Tamara 🙂

  • Awesome! I have so many freakin’ pears in my house — a huge box from a friend. I’ve already made roasted pear scones and pear crumble but I want something HEALTHY. Pear fruit leather it is.

    • Perfect timing for you then! They’re a great quick and easy snack that leaves you feeling energetic and not worn down from excess sugar. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back again 🙂

  • Linda

    McKel – thanks for the great recipie!
    do you add any water to the vitamix or just chopped apples?, I assume no need to peel fruit either?

    • Hi Linda, No water needed as fruits have a lot of water in them already and if you did add water, it would take a lot longer to dehydrate! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do Linda 🙂

  • Fantastic!

    I’ve wanted to try making fruit roll-ups since I read about them years ago in a make-your-own baby food cookbook. Well that “baby” is now 11 and she has a 9 year-old sister so it’s high time. I had a few overripe pears & am so grateful for your recipe. I didn’t peel mine, just cut out the core and seeds, popped them into my Viramix, added lemon juice, spread it on my Silpat in a jelly roll pan & baked on my oven’s lowest temp, per your recipe. I was so excited i stayed up til 2AM to get it out of the oven. i did a little cheer when it peeled right off! It’s chewy and delicious! I can hardly wait for my girls to try this in the morning. Thank you!!

    • This is so great to hear Felicia! So glad you’re enjoying them and soon to be your daughters enjoying them as well. Best to you!

  • Claire

    Wow! These look great! I was just wondering though – is the apple or pear purée grainy? Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Claire,
      Great question- the strawberry is a bit because of the seeds, but the other two are smooth!

  • Do you peel your apples before you blend them? All the recipes I have found have peeled them, but it doesn’t seem like you would really need to. Thoughts?