…but I discovered I don’t especially heart making them!
I took Monday off work. The plan was to treat myself to a massage that I’ve had a voucher for since March, May? Something like that. But with Isaac spinning around trying to figure out what he wanted to do in the Gulf, I was afraid the daycare would be closed and cancelled the massage.
But, daycare was open, so I just had the day to myself. After catching up on various things around the house, what to do, what to do…
Make homemade fruit leathers! It’s been on my to-do list to try for months, and while it could be a fun project to do with the Boog, I wanted to try it out on my own first.
Back when I was first looking for recipes to do this, I swore I found one that didn’t require simmering the fruit puree on the stove top. But, on Monday, I couldn’t find it and pretty much thought I made it up in my head. Google “fruit leather recipe” and you’ll get tons of hits. Just not the one that says, eh, skip the simmering of the puree.
[For the record, here’s the blog/recipe that I was thinking of. Too bad I didn’t find it until Monday night.]
Anyhoo, the concept is a simple one. Puree some fruit, add sweetener, lemon juice, spices, etc. to your taste. Simmer. Pour onto a lined baking sheet and wait.
I used frozen berries – a gorgeous mix of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries, with some lemon juice and agave nectar.
So, here are the reasons I’m not fond of this process:
1. I simmered the fruit puree. I wasn’t very focused and at some point smelled burning, which led me to frantically scrape the bottom of the pan trying to get the burnt stuff out of the pan, lest it taint my precious fruit roll-ups.
2. I wasn’t very focused and didn’t put the oven on the convect cycle. I have an awesome oven that HAS the convect cycle. But I failed to use it. Again, note that I remembered this late Monday night.
3. I’m not very patient, especially when it comes to something as delicious as fruit leather. So dehydrating the fruit puree in the oven was sort of like slow torture. That led me to constantly pulling it out and messing with it, thus delaying even further my ability to enjoy the fruit leather. Vicious cycle.
4. Spreading the puree out evenly was really difficult. It’s hard to describe the consistency of the puree (though, maybe it was due to bullet #1 and it wasn’t the consistency it was supposed to be). Because of that, parts of my delicious fruit leather were, shall we say, tough, a little like jerky…
5. I’m a fruit roll-up piggy. I think I could sit down and eat an entire box of the pre-made ones. So, when I got my final product, it was hard to save any for Boog or Husband to try. Which was disappointing. I felt like after baking for 6 hours, I should have a LOT of fruit roll-ups. Hmmm. Maybe I’m just greedy.
6. I tried to get “cute”. I don’t do “cute” very well. This is a known issue, as demonstrated here. My good friend got me these awesome letter silicone baking sheets. There were tons of ideas on the box, one of which is for ice cubes, which would work great for things like Purple Oatmeal. But I thought, wow, I’m going to be so cool, I’m going to make thick fruit leather LETTERS! I probably should have gotten the basics down before trying to get “cute”. And see bullet #3, which also provided complications. Well, here’s how that went.
Sorry Erin – don’t freak out, I wasn’t spelling your name out in blood or creepy letters on purposes. 🙂 Maybe I have an idea for Halloween!
7. Cutting them into roll-ups is not a strong suit of mine either, but here were my best attempts.
By the end of the day, I was swearing off making these ever again, because, fruit roll-ups are cheap. But never say never. I’m sure someday Boog and I can make them together (she LOVED eating them) and we’ll have a great time.
I just don’t make things fancy, like most of the Google results I found. But, I’m okay with that. We all enjoyed some fruit leathers, and they were just as delicious in their imperfection.