Chow Bella

Monday Night Martha: Fruit Leather

Nothing says "packed lunch" more than rolled-up fruit leather. It's cute, it's portable, and what's great about making it from scratch is that you can guarantee that it's actually made from fruit. What you find in the grocery store could be more accurately described as sugary, pectin-filled fruit candy. Screw that. Let's go for the real deal.

Pick a fruit, any fruit. Fresh or canned. In this case, we're using blueberries, but only because we found them cheap at Safeway several days ago and had highfalutin plans for them that never quite materialized. Now they're starting to grow mold. If you're using fresh fruit, such as peaches, apricots or berries, give them a good washing and then dry them off very thoroughly.

Now mash the hell out of the fruit. Puree it into a mushy pulp using a small blender or a hand mixer. You'll be through when the mixture has reached the consistency of apple sauce.

Then taste it. There's a good chance it's going to be too bitter. If that's the case, add whatever sweetener you prefer: sugar, honey, splenda, etc. If the puree tastes too sweet, you may consider adding a little bit of lemon juice.

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Grab a cookie sheet or baking pan and line it with microwave-proof plastic wrap. Using a spatula, spread the fruit puree as evenly as possible on the plastic wrap. Spread the mixture so it's somewhere between a quarter and an eighth of an inch thick. Wrap the edges of the plastic wrap over the sides of the pan so that they won't flip over and get stuck in the fruit goo.

Now comes the super easy-part. Slide the pan in the oven and leave it there for, oh, say three or four hours. If you're worried about it burning, then check it after two hours. The fruit has to completely dry out. This shouldn't take any longer than five or six hours in all, but it depends on the fruit, your oven, and the thickness of the puree.

When the fruit leather is dry to the touch, remove it from the oven. Let it cool for a little bit. Then roll it up.

Finito and yummo!

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Rene Gutel
Contact: Rene Gutel