One of my favorite memories as a kid was helping my mom make homemade fruit leather. Back then we would spread the fruit puree on makeshift screens and dry in the sun. Then my mom acquired a very old and very large dehydrator. Literally this thing is a huge box that is almost as tall as me! It really makes me more appreciative of my modern food dehydrator. We would make all kinds of different flavors like peach, apricot, nectarines, and more. My mom was amazing at food preservation! And now I am in the position to be able to carry on that tradition with my own family.
With school starting up again, my kids will be in need of school snacks that they can take to school and also snacks for when they arrive home. I remember taking my mom’s homemade fruit leather on school field trips in my packed lunches and all the kids being envious of me because I had the “good stuff” and all they had was the silly store bought fruit roll ups that didn’t taste as good as mine. I want my kids to appreciate the “good stuff” and learn that eating healthy can be delicious.
I found some delicious, fresh and ripe Utah peaches and then I was busy in the kitchen creating some very delicious after school snacks for the kids. My kids honestly can’t get enough of this stuff, so I figured it was good enough to share with you all! Enjoy our recipe! And as always if you have questions ask them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
If you love our recipe, be sure to let me know!
Fresh Homemade Peach Fruit Leather Recipe
There are actually multiple ways you can go about preparing the puree for the fruit leather. Some say you need to cook the peaches on a medium temperature for about 45 minutes with sugar to soften the peaches but also so that it thickens the puree. Others say all you need to do is puree the peaches with sugar and you are ready to go. So who is right?
They both are! I tried out both methods and really the only difference is the cooked method had a slightly darker color and the flavor was slightly different. But for me, honestly I don’t think the difference is worth all the added work, so from now on I’ll be skipping that step. But that’s just me.
Before you begin always be sure you have thoroughly washed your peaches. Then slice in half and remove the pits. There is no need to peal or blanch the peaches. The skin gives added fiber and flavor and you really can’t tell it’s mixed in anyway, so why add more work?
You will need:
- 10 large ripe peaches
- 1/3 cup sugar
Puree the peaches (including the skins) and sugar in a blender or food processor until it is very smooth. It should be the consistency of applesauce. The sugar is really there just to sweeten any peaches that may not be fully ripe, and also because flavors greatly intensify in the drying process, so adding a little sugar helps keep the dried fruit leather from being too sour. You can adjust the sugar content if the peaches are extra sweet.
Next spread the mixture to a thickness of about 1/4″ on your prepared pan. You can do this two ways,
- Prepare a cookie sheet with quality Saran Wrap stretched across the pan and lightly sprayed with a little oil
- Use your fruit trays specially designed to work with your food dehydrator. Lightly spray with a little Oil.
You don’t want it too thick or it will take forever to dry. You don’t want it too thin or else it will be crunchy and flaky.
If you are drying your fruit leather on a cookie sheet instead of with a food dehydrator, you will want to place it in the oven at the lowest setting your oven can go, preferably below 175 degrees. You will want to rotate your pans after a couple hours. Normally it will take 6-9 hours to dry thoroughly. You will want to check every hour after 6 hours until all is dry and no longer “squishy” to the touch, extra sticky or wet.
For those using a Food Dehydrator, You will want to set it to 135 degrees, the optimal setting for fruits. Stack your trays and leave it for approximately 6 hours.
Seeing as I did a triple batch of fruit leather I have a much taller stack of trays. At about 5 hours I checked the trays and did a little rotating of the trays, then continued to dry for the remainder of the time.
Your dried fruit leather will be a darker color than when you began. You will want to let the leather cool for a few minutes. Once the leather has cooled then it is time to prepare the fruit leather for storage, not that it will last very long once your kids get a hold of it anyway.
If you dried your fruit leather on the cookie sheet, you can then just roll it up in the same Saran Wrap you cooked it on. With a dehydrator you will lay out a sheet of Saran Wrap. I like to rip the large round circle in half because otherwise it is far too wide for our Saran wrap, but if you can find an extra wide box of Saran Wrap you won’t need to rip in half.
Now you simply fold a small part of the Saran Wrap over the edge of the fruit leather and then begin rolling the fruit leather into a tube shape. You can leave the ends as they lay, or you can give them an extra twist like a candy wrapper to ensure they are fully sealed.
You will want to place them all in an air tight container. I like to put mine into a thick Ziploc bag or an air tight Tupperware container. This is a great time to label your package with the date so you know just when the fruit leather was created and you can keep the oldest rotated to the front and used first. Often it can stay good in a dry cupboard for about a month, probably longer in the fridge or freezer.
I often find I don’t always have to label my Fruit leather because the kids eat it so fast that the first batch is all gone before I can get the next fruit flavor dried. However I often make multiple flavors of fruit leather over the course of a few days, wanting enough to last us a month or two at a time. The subsequent batches I do however label.
But as you can see I’m not just making it up that kids love it! My boys have eaten an entire roll on their own over the last two days. They are always asking for some fruit Leather to snack on. They prefer it over fruit snacks, sugar filled granola bars and even candy!
Even Jade, our picky toddler, loves to snack on the homemade fruit leather, and that’s an amazing feat as I can hardly get her to eat anything other than string cheese, gold fish crackers and her Silk Fruit and Protein soy milk.
I should warn you however, that once you taste this homemade peach fruit leather, you will have a hard time stopping! I’ve been really fighting the urge to constantly snack on these, although a lot is not good seeing as it a lot more concentrated than peaches in their original form.