Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to Make Organic Fruit Leather

Once your kids come down from their Halloween candy high, try this!

My kids LOVE fruit snacks. You know, those bright, chewy globs of sugar and chemicals? They adore them. My neighbor Tanya and I were lamenting about some information she found about unhealthy foods that you might feed your kids thinking they are somewhat healthy. Like, yogurt in the individual squeeze packs, hot dogs, and worst of all, fruit snacks. I found this article that really explains why fruit snacks are unhealthy, and how companies are trying to trick us into thinking they are more than "glorified candy" (the ingredients are so similar).

The good news is, you CAN make your own fruit snacks, and it's simple. Granted, these are more like fruit roll-ups, but they serve the same purpose. You've just got to have a dehydrator, a blender, and some organic fruits, veggies, and a little fruit juice. If you don't have a dehydrator, get one! Especially if you grow your own food. There are so many things you can make with it - beef jerky, kale chips, red pepper flakes, and so much more. Dehydrators can sell from $35 to over $200.

Place the fruits and veggies you want to use in a blender. I used strawberries, mango, and spinach, then added just enough juice to get it all blended. Once it was smooth, I carefully spooned it into the fruit leather tray of my dehydrator. Just be careful not to overfill it.



Turn on the machine, and it should be ready in five to ten hours, depending on what brand of dehydrator you are using. Check it at around four hours and about every 1/2 hour after. It will be done when it is firm and pliable, and not sticky or gluey. It should peel cleanly off the fruit leather tray. For a fruit roll-up style snack, cut into strips and wrap each strip tightly in plastic wrap. One dehydrator manufacturer recommends storing the wrapped strips in a paper bag and closing it with tape for maximum freshness. It will keep like this for two months, or in the freezer for a year. That's it! Easy, right? Now you've got healthy snacks for kids on-the-go.


Just to drive the point home:
My fruit snacks: Organic strawberries, organic mango, organic spinach, and organic apple juice.

Their fruit snack (I won't mention the brand, but they're all similar): Apple juice from concentrate, corn syrup, sucrose, food starch-modified, gelatin, lactic acid, sodium lactate, citric acid, ascorbic acid, natural and artificial flavors, coconut oil, sodium citrate, carnauba wax, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1.



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As a side note, earlier I mentioned my friend Tanya. She and her sister have started a project in honor of their brother Luke who beat leukemia. They are making funky hats and headwear for kids with cancer and delivering them to Chicagoland and Michigan hospitals. Check out Luke's Lids for Kids!

2 comments:

  1. I love fruit leathers and my dehydrator!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for posting! I'm becoming a huge fan of my dehydrator!

    ReplyDelete