I absolutely love making fruit leathers. They are so fun to make, such a great gift, and I always feel like a kid when eating one! They are such a great snack on and off the trail and you're hiking buddies will be begging for more.
Before getting started
Let's talk about dehydrators and how to choose one.
The machine I recommend the most frequently is the Excalibur® 5-Tray with Stainless Steel and ParaFlexx® fruit leather sheets. It’s an investment, but I’ve had mine for six years and might have it for the next 60! It’s seriously awesome!
Now onto the fun part
The trick to fruit leathers is pairing low pectin fruits like berries with high pectin fruits, like apples or bananas. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch that gives fruits and vegetables structure.
This entry will include recipes for Cinnamon Apple Sauce Leather, Piña Colada Fruit Leather, Pumpkin Pie Fruit Leather, Peach Ginger Fruit Leather, and Chocolate Banana Crepes. Yes, please!
If you’ve ever made jam, you likely already know that it’s important to have enough pectic in your recipe in order to reach the “gel” stage. For making fruit leathers, I’ve found that if your recipe is at least half high pectin fruit and half low, your leathers will turn just right.
The consistency (before dehydration) you’re shooting for with any fruit leather is like a thick smoothie. If it’s too thin, you’ll have a hard time keeping it on the trays and it will likely be brittle. If it’s too thick, you can end up with cracks.
To achieve fruit leather bliss, strive to reach the consistency of applesauce with
any fruit leather recipe, and spread it evenly on your fruit leather sheets.
While I’ve had success dehydrating on parchment paper, it is worth the investment to get Paraflexx® sheets for your dehydrator. They clean easily and will last forever!
For a confidence booster, start by making an applesauce fruit leather straight from the jar!
Simply spray your fruit leather sheets lightly with oil, pour the applesauce onto the dehydrator tray (about 2 cups per tray) and jiggle the tray a bit. Slide the whole thing into your dehydrator and let it run at 135°F for 6 to 8 hours.
You’ll be impressed how easy it is to make healthy, delicious, lightweight snacks for your next outdoor adventure.
Let me know if you try any of the below recipes or what your favorite flavor of fruit leather is. I'm always looking for new recipes to play around with in the kitchen.
Cinnamon Apple Sauce Leather
Ingredients - Makes 10 fruit leathers
- 5 lbs apples
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or brown sugar
- Slice and core the apples. Cut into small pieces and combine in a large pot with the rest of the ingredients.
- Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 30 minutes, until the apples are visibly soft and cooked.
- Use an immersion blender or high powered blender to puree the mixture.
- Pour 1-2 cups of applesauce onto lightly oiled fruit leather sheets. Dehydrate at 135°F for 6-10 hours. Until the leather is tacky to the touch, but not crisp.
- While still warm, lay onto parchment paper, roll up tightly, and secure with a piece of butcher twine.
Piña Colada Fruit Leather
Ingredients - Makes 10 fruit leathers
- 3 frozen bananas
- 1 lb frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 lb frozen mango
- 3 cups orange juice
- Put all of the ingredients together in a high powered blender. Blend until smooth like a thick applesauce.
- Spray a fruit leather sheet lightly with coconut oil, then pour the fruit smoothie onto the sheets.
- Dry at 135°F for 6-8 hours, until it easily peals from the tray.
- While still semi-warm, lay the dried leather on parchment paper, then roll it up and tie with butcher twine.
- Fruit leathers will keep for weeks in a cool dark place, or can last months in the freezer!
Pumpkin Pie Fruit Leather
Ingredients - Makes 12 fruit leathers
- 2 cups canned pumpkin
- 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
- 2 cups applesauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 2 TBSP finely chopped raisins
- Mix all ingredients together in a blender or food processor.
- Spread mixture on fruit leather sheets lightly sprayed with coconut oil. You want it to be spread about 1/4 inch thick evenly, and make the edges a smidge thicker since they will dry the fastest.
- Dry at 135°F for 6-8 hours, or until there are no soft sports and it feels tacky to the touch. Once your leathers are dry, wrap them in parchment paper and store in a bag until your next trip!
Peach Ginger Fruit Leather
Ingredients - Makes 20 small fruit leathers
- 5 lbs fresh or thawed frozen peaches
- 5 tsp liquid ginger juice (or 5 small pieces of ginger)
- 5 TBSP honey
- Blend all of the ingredients together in a high powered blender or food processor.
- Pour the mix onto a lightly greased fruit leather sheet. Dry at 135°F for 6-10 hours, until tacky and there are no wet spots.
- Roll up in parchment paper while still warm.
Chocolate Banana Crepes
Ingredients - Makes 5 crepes
- 5 ripe bananas
- 1 oz cocoa powder
- 2 TBSP maple syrup
- Pinch of sea salt
- 5 TBSP nut butter
- Mix the above ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Pour 1/2 cup of mixture onto a lightly greased fruit leather sheet. Dry at 135°F for 6-10 hours, until tacky and not wet in any sports.
- While still warm, layer with 1 TBSP of nut butter (peanut and almond butter works well) and roll up!
Heather Kelly is the founder and CEO of Heather’s Choice. She was an NCAA National Champion and CRCA/Pocock All-American in women’s rowing, and hold a degree in evolutionary nutrition. Heather is also a certified eating psychology coach and has coached hundreds of athletes on developing a nutrition plan for optional performance and a healthy, satisfying relationship with food.
Heather lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her boyfriend and business partner Brad, along with their dog Jango. You can likely find her playing with food, building her urban homestead, or rafting rivers in her spare time.