And I LOVE fruit snacks because they make my children insanely happy!
I try and buy "no sugar or dye added" brands,
but I'll admit - if there is a good sale out there I'll break down and buy something bright and unnaturally sweet. Then I feel guilty!
Money over their little bodies?!
I found a solution the other day while flipping through some whole foods cookbooks...
HOMEMADE FRUIT LEATHER
Why have I not thought of this before?!
I handpicked the pears straight from a chemical-free tree.
Can't beat the quality control of a momma!
These are time consuming... but easy. AND they make your house smell WAY amazing.
I don't have a dehydrator,
but I read online that if you can get your stove to stay around 150 degrees you are golden.
So that's what oven thermometers are for!
Saute fruit of your choice (I hear that you need to add an apple or pear if using juicier fruits like peaches or plums). I added a little water to keep it from sticking. You want the fruit super soft with all water evaporated.
After the pears were soft, I added a little splash of maple syrup. Because it is my sweetener of choice!
I'm sure agave or honey would work well too.
Didn't have to add all that much - the pears were perfect just the way God made them!
I added a pinch of cinnamon and... drum roll please...
I'm just a huge fan of zesting in general. Takes the flavor level up a notch.
The lemon zest brightened, enhanced, and took the pears to a whole new happy place!
I pureed the living daylights out of the mix. You want REALLY REALLY REALLY smooth fruit roll-ups, right?
I know my kids would probably question a chunky fruit snack!
Again, a lot of sources said to oil a piece of plastic wrap to put under the puree.
Plastic wrap? In an oven? With my fruit on top?
I don't think so.
Aluminium foil with a little vegetable spray worked just fine. I spread the fruit out really thin...
...and after about 5 hours in a 150-ish degree oven, (could take 4-8 hours depending on the size of the pan and thickness of the fruit layer) I had THIS...
You are looking for the fruit leather to feel dry and firm - but not crisp.
I cut it into strips and rolled it in wax paper.
I'm storing mine in a glass jar in my fridge... to make sure nothing funny starts happening to my little creations!
I JUST bought a bunch of apples to make some apple leather this week. I didn't want to go overboard with my first batch just in case they weren't good. But these are GREAT! VERY VERY satisfying!!!
And they passed the "kid" test! That's all that matters, right?