When my mom asked what I wanted for Christmas, it didn't take me long to suggest a food dehydrator. Our family already eats quite a bit of fruits and veggies, but any way in which I can add more to our diet is always a plus. Besides, this gives me another option for storing our bounty from our garden other than freezing and canning.
I've been wanting to make fruit roll-ups (fruit leather) for quite sometime. My kids love the store-bought ones, but we don't get them but a few times a year. Homemade ones are much cheaper and much healthier. Who knows how many ingredients are in the processed ones with the cute little pictures on the box. I can tell you how many are in these homemade ones though: one -- fruit! Can't get much better than that. (Though if your fruit needs a little sweetening, you can add honey, agave syrup, or light corn syrup.)
I know winter is not exactly the time to stock up on produce to dehydrate, but I got strawberries for a pretty good deal the other day. After making and enjoying apple leather last week, we set out to make the strawberry.
Peel off the dried fruit while it's still warm. Cut, slice, or roll the leather any way you wish. One reason I've been wanting to make this is to use it as cute embellishments for the kiddos lunches. Food just tastes better when it's fun!
The strawberry by itself is very tart. All of us puckered our lips and made silly faces the first time we tried it. After you get over the initial shock though, it's pretty addicting. Next time, I'll try adding another flavor to override the sweetness a little. Also, since I've only made it twice, I'm still trying to find the perfect texture and consistency. This time, I was dehydrating sliced strawberries and bananas at the same time. It definitely lengthened the drying process. I'm thankful I have many months to work out the kinks and become more confident before the big push this summer.
If you have any tips, tricks, or favorite dehydrated suggestions, please share them in the comments below!
* You can also make the leather in the oven. Prepare as stated above. Pour into lined cookie sheet, and bake at lowest oven setting until done, 6-8 hours.