I still remember the day. I was newly married to my husband and we were driving over to his parents house on a hot and sunny summer day. Just as we pulled up I noticed something really strange. There were sheet pans sitting on top of his moms car both the hood of the car and very top and her car was parked in the sun. I looked over at my husband with a pretty confused look on my face. "What is your mom doing?" "Oh fruit leather," he said. What? I thought fruit dryers were made for that? Was I missing something? I had to get to the bottom of this... so I marched right in and asked Charlotte to walk me through this process of sun drying fruit leather on your car. Ha ha ha... I was worried about bugs and all sorts of stuff but apparently because the top and hood of the car gets so hot it's the perfect temperature to keep any unwanted bugs away. Almost 11 years later and having sun dried MANY batches of fruit leather on the hood of my car. I have yet to see a single bug. No even a tiny one. Plus your leather turns out 100 times better when you dry it in the hot summer sun. It may look just a little strange to your neighbors (insert awkward "uh hey neighbor") but if you can get over that you WILL NOT regret it! Now I realize it's not always summer nor is it always sunny and warm enough where some people live to use the sun dried technique. In that case there are some excellent dehydrators that I am a fan of that will still give you excellent results. So let's get right to it.
What you will need:
For the Sun Dried Method:
For the Dehydrator Method:
(If you already have a dehydrator then you are good to go, but if you don't or your not happy with the current results of your dehydrator you may want to give this one a try.)
Dehydrator: This one is pretty straight forward, performs very well, and will be the easiest for rolling your fruit at the end. Link HERE
Dehydrator Sheets: These ones are made to fit the above model. Link HERE. Now with this method, once the fruit leather is dry, there are two options I use for storing. See that section.
Blender: see Sun Dried Method above section!
Storing your fruit leather:
Roll Up Method:
If doing sun dried method: roll up right off the pan and place in a zip lock back.
If doing dehydrator method: peel the fruit leather away from the dehydrator sheets, lay it flat on Saran Wrap, then roll it up. Store in a zip lock bag.
Fruit Chips Method:
Peel fruit leather away from either Saran Wrap or dehydrator sheets break up into chip like pieces and store in a zip lock bag.
I personally feel that the roll up method helps the fruit leather maintain its soft texture. That said, if you like a little more crunch to your fruit leather then definitely use the chip method.
Well there you have it! This recipe really is SUPER simple, but as always, follow the recipe instructions as closely as possible. I hope this leads to a summer filled with yummy healthy fruit leather:) Oh and before I forget, I have the downloadable PDF below:)
Downloadable PDF: Sun Dried Apricot Fruit Leather
Large Aluminum Sheet Pans: Winware (ALXP-1826) Full-Size Sheet Pans, Set of 2 (18 x 26-Inch, Aluminum)