So I've been noticing a pattern with myself...trying new recipes to get rid of food that I don't want to waste (remember Pizza Bagels?)
I'm awful--just ask my mom or Chloe. I see something at the store that I'm convinced I just have to have only to take it home, use (or eat) it a couple times, only to realize after the fact that I don't actually want it :P
Tisk, tisk, Taylor!
I am also a bit nutty about waste, especially when it comes to food. I get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I see leftovers-gone-bad dumped into the trash. That's perfectly good food that could've been eaten but wasn't because no one "felt like" finishing it.
Enough of my rant. You get the idea.
My guilty item this time happened to be frozen fruit. It's summer...I told myself I'd be eating delicious healthy smoothies and would easily finish the bags of frozen strawberries, mangos, blueberries...mixed berries...alright, that's a LOT of fruit.
What I didn't realize is that I LIKE smoothies...just not THAT much. Whoops.
So how does one rid themselves of fruit in a scrumptious way? Fruit leather!
It's not quick, but it IS easy!
Dump fruit (fresh or frozen...if frozen, make sure it's THAWED) into pan with sugar and lemon and/or lime juice. Burner should be on medium-low.
Let it simmer. Stir occasionally!
Leave on stove until it's soft.
Pour fruit into blender. Puree!
**Some say to strain it through a fine sieve, but my Magic Bullet blended it down to a fine texture, and I like eating the seeds, so I skipped that step! ;)
Lay parchment paper (NO PLASTIC--it will melt!) onto a baking sheet (that has rims) and pour the mixture evenly onto the pan, covering the majority of the surface.
Place in oven on low (140º-170ºF) and bake for 4-6 hours. The recipe I followed said to bake it for 6-8 hours...I found that was WAY too long (I think I baked mine for 6) and my fruit leather turned out TOO CRUNCHY. It shouldn't be crunchy...should be more the consistency of a fruit roll up.
Next time I'm going to try closer to 4 hours. How long you leave it in depends on your oven. The recipe I followed also said it should be dry to the touch...but like I said, next time I'm trying closer to 4 hours whether it's dry or not! If it's not dry I'll just let it sit out.
When it's finished, take it out of the oven and place the parchment paper on a cooling rack. Once cool, dig in!
I stored my fruit leather in Tupperware containers. I'm sure plastic baggies would work as well :-)
- 4 1/2 cups fresh or [thawed] frozen fruit (I used frozen strawberries...any fruit works...experiment!)
- 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
- 3 tbsp sugar
**Dice the fruit if it's big (i.e. strawberries). If they're small (i.e. blueberries, raspberries) just throw 'em in the pan.
Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!
If you're nervous about my whimsical cooking tendencies, here's the recipe I followed: http://foodbabbles.com/2011/09/strawberry-kiwi-fruit-leather/