The excitement of Tu B’shvat is usually coupled with the anticipation for warmer spring-like days. Unfortunately, the two don’t always coincide. Here’s an idea that will infuse summer-like fruit into winter-like temperatures.
Fruit leather is usually associated with food colored quasi -candy containing minimal amounts of actual fruit, or worse, only fruit juice. Homemade fruit leather is a vitamin packed, antioxidant laden treat that is easy to transport and pleasing to the eye. The recipe below has no added sugar. (Despite this, my children are constantly bombarded by their friends for a piece.)
2 cups mixed strawberries and blueberries. (If using frozen fruit, drain out as much of the liquid as possible before proceeding.)
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
(We are fortunate enough to live in a global village that affords us the possibility to import out of season fruits into our daily life. I have seen stunning strawberries and blueberries mid-December. If you can’t get them, use the frozen kind. While the recipe below calls for strawberries and blueberries, kiwi, mango, papaya, and pineapple are great alternative fruits to mix into a fruit leather.)
Place fruit in bowl and using an immersion blender, puree fruit until thick in consistency.
Pour over baking sheet lined with a silpat liner. The puree should be ½ inch thick in height. Too thin will make it crunchy, too thick will take fruit leather too long to dry and possibly breed bacteria.
At this point, if you have a home food dehydrator, place shelves of fruit leather in the dehydrator and follow manufacturer’s directions.
Alternatively, preheat your oven to the lowest setting (usually 170 F). The point of the oven is not to bake the fruit leather, but to act as a dehydrator and the warm air dries out the climate in the oven.
Leave fruit leather in oven 6-8 hours or overnight – depending on your oven. Leather is ready when it doesn’t stick to your hand when you touch it. If edges are getting crispy, don’t worry. The center usually takes the longest to dry.
When done, peel off fruit leather and wrap in baking paper or wax paper. Roll jelly-roll style. You can cut into sections if you like. My kids love to make designs with the mixture when they pour it on the silpat. So long as it is even, it should be fine.
Chaia and Eliahu Frishman own Fruit Platters and More, a home based business providing fruit and vegetable platters, soups, sorbets, juices, salads, and dips. Visit www.fruitplattersandmore.com for more information.