Soil and Cellar

Growing and preserving foods in Seattle


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Strawberry Leather

Strawberry-apple leather, rolled up in wax paper. A great snack!

Strawberry-apple leather, rolled up in wax paper. A great snack!

When I was a kid, my dad built a solar food drier – he was a craftsman by trade for most of my childhood. It was a box made of plexi that had screens as sliding trays, and the sun would bake the box passively, drying anything inside. My parents made dried fruits, mostly apples. But my favorite favorite was the fruit leather. Mom mashed strawberries and put them on wax paper – that’s all. No store bought fruit rollup has ever come close to that flavor. So I’ve been wanting to try it myself.

Strawberries, after a few days in the fridge. Not amazing, but still worth using!

Strawberries, after a few days in the fridge. Not amazing, but still worth using!

The strawberries I had on hand weren’t actually that great – they were kind of old. I had tried to get strawberries at the farm near my work, to make jam, but sheesh. I got there 3 minutes after they opened and they had already sold out! So I bought strawberries at my grocery store. They were fine, but not as good as the ones I have had straight from farmers. Sad face.

Chop those strawberries!

Chop those strawberries!

After making jam, I had a couple pints of berries left over. So… fruit leather time!

“The Dehydrator Bible” – my resource for food drying – doesn’t have any recipes for plain strawberry leather. I took that to mean that maybe strawberries would be too runny on their own. They suggest either strawberry-apple or strawberry-banana. I went with strawberry-apple.

I realized that I needed to blend the strawberries with the apples, or the apples wouldn't blend well.

I realized that I needed to blend the strawberries with the apples, or the apples wouldn’t blend well.

After cutting out the bad parts of the strawberries, I had the perfect amount: 2 cups chopped. Then peel and chop up an apple – something firm like granny smith – and blend the two together. I also added about a quarter cup of sugar, for flavor, but don’t add much more than that. It won’t dry right and will be tacky or sticky. And if your fruit is tastier than mine, no sugar necessary.

All smooshed up. Here's where I taste tested, and realized it needed a little sugar. I added bakers sugar because it's finer and would mix in quicker.

All smooshed up. Here’s where I taste tested, and realized it needed a little sugar. I added bakers sugar because it’s finer and would mix in quicker.

Then just pour the mixture onto a leather tray (solid plastic, no holes) and put in the dehydrator at 135 for 5-8 hours. Mine was on the upper end of that range. If you don’t have a leather tray, you can try putting parchment on a jerky tray.

Pour and spread the fruit until it is about 1/8" thick. Try to make it even so it dries at the same rate. The 2 cups of mashed fruit took up 2 leather trays.

Pour and spread the fruit until it is about 1/8″ thick. Try to make it even so it dries at the same rate. The 2 cups of mashed fruit took up 2 leather trays.

Once it’s done, while still warm, pull off the tray and put right onto wax paper or saran wrap. It may not look pretty or square, but it’s all good. Then just roll it up in the paper and seal in a plastic bag. They say it’ll last for 6 months in an airtight container, but I can’t imagine how it could last 6 days. It’s far too delicious!

Dried and ready to peel!

Dried and ready to peel!

I have about 10 rollups. I’ve been taking them to work as snacks all week, and it is such a wonderful treat! I’m excited to try making other leathers throughout the summer.