Like a lot of kids, my kiddos really like fruit rollups, only we don’t get the packaged kind. I’m too cheap, and I like making them from scratch so I know what is in them. If you have homemade (or store bought) applesauce or other fruit sauces you can whip these up quickly. I have a dehydrator (yay! It was a gift- you should ask for one too!) but these can just as easily be made in an oven. Instructions will be below for both.
The guidelines are pretty general to make fruit leather/rollups as each fruit is different and have different amounts of sweetness and liquid. If you are a canner or juicer, this is also a good way to use up the bits of pulp from those activities (though be sure it is seedless!). For example, I like to mix applesauce and the carrot pulp from juicing with some cinnamon for a tasty fruit leather. So, here is the “recipe” I use:
Homemade Fruit Rollups or Fruit Leather
I find 4 cups of fruit will give me one baking sheet of fruit leather or 2 trays of fruit leather in my dehydrator.
Fresh fruit, or unsweetened apple sauce or other fruit sauce
Fruit juice, as needed (I usually don’t)
Lemon juice or lime juice, if needed
sugar, or other sweetener, if needed (I usually don’t except for things like rhubarb or cranberries)
spices, as needed (try cinnamon and nutmeg in an apple leather- Yum!)
Wash, pit and coarsely chop fruit. I don’t usually peel. Put fruit in a pot and cook until softened. Add a bit of juice or water if needed to keep the fruit from sticking as it cooks. This is a good time to add the lemon or lime juice if you are cooking apples or another fruit that browns quickly. Crush fruit as it cooks. You can also puree fruit with an immersion blender.
Taste mixture and decide if it needs a bit of sweetener. Remember the fruit will get sweeter as it dries and the flavor and fruit sugars will be intensified, so sweeten sparingly. Lemon or lime juice brightens the flavors of many fruits, so add some here if you didn’t earlier. Season with spices, now if you desire, remembering they will intensify as the fruit dries. If you have added some sugar, cook the fruit puree until the sugar is completely dissolved. The puree should be very smooth.
If you are using apple sauce or other fruit sauce, you can skip the cooking step. Taste the sauce and decide if you would like to sweeten or add spices before continuing.
If you have a dehydrator, scoop the puree onto the leather drying sheets that came with your machine. Smooth the puree, leveling everything about 1/4 inch thick. Turn your dehydrator on an run according to the manufacturers directions. Leave the dehydrator on until the leather is dry, pliable, and no longer moist. This takes about 6 to 8 hours with either drying method.
If you do not have a dehydrator, line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy duty plastic wrap or parchment paper. Pour the puree onto the plastic wrap and level to 1/4″ thick. Using a scissors, trim any plastic wrap that may be overhanging the baking sheet. Put baking sheet into the oven at the lowest setting,usually 140 degrees F. If you have a convection oven oven, use that to circulate the air and speed things along. Keep an eye on it, turning the sheet every hour or so so that it evenly dries. Many people also keep the door of their oven propped open during the drying time with a wooden spoon, but I don’t recommend that AT ALL in a house with kids or pets. Trust me, my dog would never ever stay away from pumpkin pie rollups! Your best bet: put a dehydrator on you wish list for Christmas. Have everyone pitch in to get you one. they are so fun to play with!