healthy snackrecipesthe great outdoors

3 flavors of grown-up fruit leather

When you head out on the trail, you better have some healthy, energizing snacks with you.  I’m all about creating my trail food from scratch, my favorites being energy bars, granola mixes and fruit leather.  Fruit leather has a nostalgic feel to me – like every time I eat it, I am transported back to the school cafeteria.  These leathers today, though, they are for grown-ups.

One of my favorite fruits is the gooseberry.  You don’t see them everywhere (or sometimes ANYWHERE!) but they are always available canned, usually from premium brands.  If you have never had one before, they are a lot like a sour grape – very tart but also sweet and pop in your mouth.  For me, the tarter the better, so I eat gooseberries all of the time.  While planning out this week’s snacks, I thought to make a super tart fruit leather, something to really make your lips pucker, and so I decided on a Raspberry and Gooseberry Fruit Leather.

If you want to tame the tart, feel free to add a sweetener.  My favorite sweetener to add is raw honey or agave.  These have the best texture for fruit leather I think, unless you are cooking down the fruit with granulated sugar – that could work, but why add an extra step?  So just puree until smooth and then pour out onto a silicone mat in a rimmed backing sheet.  An offset spatula does a nice job of smoothing the puree.

This has to be my favorite fruit leather combination so far.  I was originally planning on doing a raspberry rhubarb, but when I saw the gooseberries, I couldn’t resist.  Sometimes those last minute swaps at the grocery store end up being the best!

So first, we went tart, now we’re going spicy.  Say what?!  Hammer the brakes and throw it in reverse!  Next up is an Orange Mango Habanero Fruit Leather.  Who doesn’t love roasted habaneros with sweet, tropical fruit?  It is one of the best combinations whether it is a salsa on your steak or in an oven-dried fruit leather.  Just don’t go adding the whole thing… a fraction of the little pepper will be quite enough!

If you use the right ratio, this should be a super sweet fruit leather than ends with a little heat in the back of your throat.  Don’t let that habanero scare you away.  If you want, you could sub in a jalapeno or something with less heat as well.

I had to make a third fruit leather.  The kitchen was already torn apart and the oven was already going, so hmmm what to make?  Since it is summer, I have an enormous supply of black plums in the house and that felt like a good start.  To the black plums I added frozen raspberries (since I had already used up my fresh) and a little knob of ginger.  Ginger gives this leather a more sophisticated flavor, making it a perfect grown-up Black Plum Raspberry and Ginger Fruit Leather.

Happy Trails!

 

Raspberry and Gooseberry Fruit Leather

  • 1 cup gooseberries
  • 2 cups raspberries

Orange Mango Habanero Fruit Leather

  • 2 cups mango, chopped
  • 1 cup mandarin orange segments
  • 1/4 of a roasted habanero (more or less to taste)

Black Plum Raspberry and Ginger Fruit Leather

  • 2 cups black plum, chopped
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 knob fresh ginger

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170° (no higher).  Line rimmed baking sheets with silicone mats or lightly greased parchment paper and set aside.
  2. For each recipe, place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Pour onto prepared sheets.  Begin to spread the mixture out to about 1/8th of an inch with an offset spatula.  DO NOT spread the mixture too thin or it will bake into crisps (still tasty, but it won’t roll).  The thicker it is, the longer it will take to dry through.
  3. Bake for about 4-6 hours.  Every oven is different, so just start checking in after 4 hours.  The leather will be done when it pulls away from the mat easily.  If rolling, roll right away

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