I wrote this post last year towards the end of apple season but never posted it. Here it is now, to fill space.
I’m wracking my brain trying to think of a substance less appetizing than leather. Honestly, have you ever tasted leather? Without going into much detail about how we know this, leather isn’t food and it tastes terrible. This is why it always amazes me when people refer to dehydrated fruit puree as “fruit leather”. Sure, they’re talking about the texture, not the flavor. I know that. But it seems weird to name such a tasty food product after something that is so decidedly not “tasty”. I’ll call it “Fruit Leather” because that’s what everybody else calls it (and the other options in the thesaurus are even worse). Just keep in mind that I do so under protest.
Dana was all like “Your preserving stuff is taking up too much space in the fridge”. And I was all like “whatever, woman, step off!”. I mean, I didn’t say it out loud. She’d have been totally pissed if I did. Can you imagine? I’d still be sleeping outside.
Needing to clear some space in the fridge and not having any other great ideas, I pulled out a container of apple sauce and dumped it into the dehydrator.
- Apple Sauce
- Vegetable Oil
I know there are ways to do this in the oven, but I used the dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator sitting around, don’t rush out to get one just for this project. But I did have one, and it was convenient enough.
Use a fruit leather tray, which probably comes with your dehydrator. Put a small amount of vegetable oil on a napkin or piece of cloth and rub down the tray. A thin layer of the oil helps to prevent sticking later. Spread your apple sauce or other prepared fruit puree on the tray and put it into the dehydrator. Follow any instructions to create fruit leather.
The instructions for mine said to dehydrate at 135° for 4-10 hours. I did this in the evening after work, so I didn’t have that much time. I did it at 135° for about 5 hours and it wasn’t done before we went to bed. So I turned the temperature down to 115° and went to bed.
When I checked first thing in the morning, the leather was done.
It’s hard to argue with how easy this process is. It’s up there with creating apple chips or even dried tomatoes. Put it in the dehydrator, set it up according to the instructions, and completely ignore it for a few hours. The hardest part of the whole process is spreading the apple sauce out evenly so it dries evenly.
I didn’t add any sugar or seasonings. The sauce was plenty sweet enough all by itself (I used Fuji, Stayman-Winesap and mostly Braeburn apples). Next time I may add some cinnamon or pie spices to the mix for a little extra holiday flair. I may also try to mix in some other fruit puree if I can find something that I like at this time of year.