Jammy Fruit Leather

[donotprint]The sad specimen pictured above is the result of one of my first attempts at jam. Apparently, I was going for broke with my first batch because I always manage to find another jar of it in the cupboard even when I thought I finally used it all up.

I remember that the jam recipe was pretty high in sugar (like most traditional jam recipes). After this batch I started using Ponoma’s Universal Pectin. In addition to the oxidization (browning on the top), the jam never really set so it’s more of a thick sauce. It’s great for yogurt, but I needed more than one way to use up all the jars we have. So I made some fruit leather. And even though my kids are probably going to have a mouth full of cavities the next time they go to the dentist, I still love this snack because it is easy easy easy.[/donotprint]

I still have about six jars of this stuff. I’m all ears if you have any other ideas for using it up.

Homemade Jammy Fruit Leather Recipe

3 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 pint of jam (scant 2 cups)

Mix the applesauce and jam together in a medium bowl until well blended. Divide between three 15-inch square dehydrator trays lined with lightly-greased plastic sheets. Spread the mixture over the sheet to about 1/4-inch thickness. My favorite tool for this job is a large offset spatula. Run your dehydrator according to the manufactuer’s directions. Mine was set to about 135 degrees Farhienheit for about 10 hours.

When it is done, the leather may be slightly tacky, but should not be gooey or sticky. Peel the leather off of the liners. Slice into desired widths and roll up with wax paper. Store in an airtight container. They should last for a couple months, if not longer, as long as they have been dried out properly.

Note: If you’d rather use your oven, a good looking tutorial/recipe can be found at Simply Recipes – How To Make Fruit Leather.

Yield: 18 3-inch wide strips
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Drying-time: 10 hours

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Black Raspberry Rockets

I used to think that raspberry rockets was the best snack I’d ever thought of. But now there’s a new kid in town… and she’s knocking my socks off.

My new life goal is to find some super high-quality white chocolate to use for this snack. The waxy aftertaste I’m getting from the cheapo Nestle chips we’re using is getting in the way of an otherwise perfect culinary moment.

In other news, we still don’t have anything resembling an Internet connection. We’re getting closer, but still not there yet.

Homemade Apple Chips

[donotprint]This easy recipe for homemade apple chips is a new favorite at our house. My kids love them. I love them. Everyone’s happy. It’s been a while since I made something so simple yet brilliant. Hooray Apple Chips!

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Apple Chips Recipe

I used some Macoun and Empire apples to make these and they didn’t require any measures to prevent browning. If you think your apples will brown excessively, dip them in a solution of 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice right after they have been sliced.

3 medium apples
Cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash and core the apples using an apple corer. Slice off the a 1/4″ of the top and bottom of the apple and discard. Slice the remaining apple using a mandolin set to 1/8″ thick.

Spread the apple rings out onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Try to avoid overlapping the rings. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for approximately 3 hours, rotating once or twice. Start checking on them around 2 hours. They may be slightly pliable out of the oven, but should crisp up when cool. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Note: I’ve also made these same chips using a food dehydrator set to 155 degrees Fahrenheit for around 6 -8 hours.

Yield: approximately 30 chips (not enough!)
Prep-time: 5 minutes
Bake-time: 3 hours 

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Golden Raspberries

Eating fresh local raspberries this time of year feels like cheating. Raspberries taste like they should only be available at the height of summer. And yet Mother Nature (or is it farmers?) has been kind enough to give us one last taste with the late season berry crop.

I was recently lucky enough to stumble upon some golden raspberries from Sweet Wind Farm. I instantly fell in love with these show ponies of the berry world when I saw a post at Tender Crumb that featured them perfectly. Those little tarts make me smile.

When we got them home, after much deliberation, I finally settled on topping a bowl of mixed raspberries with a dollop of fresh whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup.

And it was perfect.

Homemade Blueberry Fruit Leather

Who wants to place a bet on how soon my kids are going to get a cavity? I can’t stop making dried fruit purees this year and it is going to be my downfall.

Well, que sera sera. Frankly, not a bad way to go.

Dehydrated fruit purees I’ve posted about already such as the Strawberry Roll Ups and the Polka Dot Roll Ups contain very small amounts, if any, added sugar. For this reason, they are thinner and a little more brittle than traditional fruit leather. When fruit puree is loaded up with sugar the finished product is thicker and more flexible.

Turns out it doesn’t take gobs of honey to make thick fruit leather, just a 1/4 cup is necessary for this recipe. It’s not super sweet like grocery store fruit leather. I think it’s just right. 

1 pint fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup honey
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat the blueberries and water in a medium saucepan over med high heat until it comes to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium low so that the mixture is at a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove saucepan from heat and add the honey, applesauce, and lemon juice. Puree the mixture with a hand/immersion or regular blender until smooth.

Prepare a 15 x15-inch dehydrator tray with a lightly greased liner. Pour the blueberry mixture onto the middle of the lined tray and spread it out evenly with a large offset spatula or a spoon until it is 1/3-inch thick. It should be an approximately 12 x 12-inch square. Having the outside edges thicker is fine as they tend to dry more quickly.

Insert the tray into the dehydrator and set the temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Run the dehydrator for 8 to 10 hours. The finished fruit leather may have a couple sticky spots on the surface, but for the most part it should be dried yet pliable.

Remove the fruit leather from the tray. Cut with a knife or scissors into individual servings. Wrap pieces in wax paper. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 10 pieces
Prep-time: 15 minutes
Drying-time: 8 – 10 hours

Dragon Fruit

One of the benefits of being a food blogger, aside from the money, is that you know exactly what this is when you run into it at the Asian grocery. Food bloggers from my neck of the woods love to reveal what’s inside the frightenly beautiful and mysterious Dragon Fruit.

 

 

And now you can see why.

I kept my kids guessing for what seemed like months but was only a few days while the fruit ripened. When it gave a little when squeezed and felt like a ripe kiwi, I got out the knife.

Then we scooped out the flesh, quickly chopped it up, and placed it back into the “bowl” provided by the skin. It tastes a lot like a kiwi, but the texture is more like a pear. The kids liked it and it was some seriously good snacktainment.

Blackberry Applesauce

My oldest headed off into the second grade today. I’m stuck at home with her younger sister and a boat load of fresh produce. Today for afternoon snack we used up the remainder of the blackberries and apples. But we’ll probably go and pick more soon. I’ve got a major addiction to pick-your-own this year.

My preschooler really enjoyed this snack saying things like “This is the best snack ever!!!” and “What did you put in this mama?!” She said these things very loudly as preschoolers are apt to do.

4 medium apples, washed and peeled
1 cup fresh blackberries, washed and picked over
3 tablespoons water or apple juice/cider
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 – 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Roughly chop the apples and discard the cores. Place the apples, blackberries and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the apples and blackberries to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for ten minutes or until the apples easily turn to mush when squished with a fork.

Allow the cooked applesauce to cool slightly. Transfer to a strainer placed over a medium mixing bowl. Press the applesauce through the strainer with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. Keep pressing the applesauce through until not much more than the blackberry seeds remain. Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Yield: approximately 2 cups
Prep-time: 15 minutes

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Cantaloupe Smiles

More often than not I don’t actually enjoy cantaloupe. I went out on a limb when I picked this one up at a farmer’s market. The day after I bought it home the whole kitchen started to smell like cantaloupe so I knew it was time to cut it up and see what we had.

Well, it turned out to be something quite beautiful and I’m not talking about its appearance. This cantaloupe smelled and tasted absolutely amazing. Again, fresh in-season produce puts its grocery-store counterparts to shame. This cantaloupe was everything a melon should be: sweet, bright, juicy and firm. No flacid sweetness and mealy texture here.

Since my kids are used to cantaloupe from the grocery store, the only way I was going to get my youngest to even try it was to make it fun. So we did cantaloupe “smiles” and after the first bite we were all hooked. Everyone went back for more.

I will be buying a melon every time I see one at the farmer’s market now.

Homemade Polka Dot Fruit Roll Ups

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All we have here is dehydrated applesauce, blackberry puree, and peach puree. And I’m hoping that it will make the my second grader’s classmates green with envy.

Darianne commented on my Homemade Strawberry Fruit Rolls Ups post that her kid is less than happy with the lack of stamped images on her homemade fruit roll ups. It got me thinking.  And I have rapidly ripening fresh local produce coming out of my ears right now. With Darianne’s kid in mind, we made a fruit roll up that kicks it up a notch. Who can say no to polka dots? Or better yet, fruit leather they’ve decorated themselves?[/donotprint]

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
Fresh blackberry sauce
Fresh peach sauce

Spread applesauce out onto a lightly greased lined dehydrator tray to 1/4-inch thickness. I find a large offset spatula works well, but if you don’t have one spread the applesauce out evenly as best you can with the back of a spoon. “Decorate” the applesauce with the blackberry and peach sauces using separate plastic squeeze bottles.

Place the prepared tray in the dehydrator and set the machine to 135 degrees Farhient. Run the dehydrator for 4 hours or more until the fruit leather is no longer tacky and completely dry. The amount of time necessary depends on the thickness and amount of sugar in the fruit.

Remove the fruit leather from the tray and cut into approximately 2-inch wide strips. Store rolled up in wax paper in an airtight container. Should keep for weeks, if not months.

Yield: 1 12-inch square sheet (4 or 5 rolls)
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Dehydrating-time: 4 hours or more

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Fresh Blackberry Sauce

I used some freshly picked berries for this sauce. Grocery store berries or frozen berries may need some extra sugar and/or lemon juice.

1 pint fresh or frozen blackberries (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon sugar

If you are using frozen berries, allow them to thaw. For fresh berries, mash the berries and the sugar in a small bowl with a fork to get the juices flowing. Puree the mixture with a hand/immersion blender until smooth.

Pour the mixture through a strainer set on top of a medium bowl. Use a rubber spatula to push the pulp through as much as possible. Discard the seeds left in the strainer. Serve or store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Yield: 1 cup
Prep-time: 10 minutes