While I haven’t spent a lot of money trying to figure out homemade fruit leather, I have spent a lot of time in an effort to perfect the recipe. It’s been a frustrating challenge to say the least, especially when making fruit leather seems so easy in principal. It’s just fruit and heat, right? Yes and no.
Here’s a breakdown of my results.
Batches 1-4: I used juicy strawberries from the farmer’s market, baked them for three hours and the batch turned out perfect and chewy with a deep red color. I couldn’t believe how easy it was and was very busy congratulating myself afterwards. Kenya actually found one of the batches that I hid in the closet to save for his school lunch and ate the entire thing! At least I know he got his vitamin C for the day — I mean, week!
Batches 5-8: So much for being proud of myself. These attempts were total disasters. This time I used organic strawberries from the grocery that were much bigger and less juicy than the ones I bought from the farmer’s market. Sadly, each of these batches burned when I cooked them at different times right around three hours. I was left totally frustrated.
Batches 9-12: Back to perfection using berries from the farmer’s market. I kept the cooking time at three hours for each batch and I finally realized the juicier the berries, the longer they take to cook. You really have to judge the berry you are using before setting your cooking time.
Batches 13 & 14: Back to the organic grocery store berries, but this time I wised up and only baked them for only two hours, which produced one batch that burned a bit on the edges (because I didn’t spread it out totally even) but another turning out perfect.
Here’s a big tip – you have to experiment for yourself with this recipe. Everyone’s berries, puree thickness, and ovens are different, so there isn’t one definitive cooking time. My best advice is to spread the mixture as evenly as possible on the baking sheet and keep a close eye on the fruit while it’s cooking. Be prepared for a bit of trial and error and don’t lose your cool. Hopefully when you find your ideal cooking time, you’ll be knocking out batches of your own fruit leather with ease.
Strawberry Fruit Leather - Oven Method
- 3 cups strawberries
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave, optional
- Remove the stems from the strawberries and place them in a blender. Drizzle a bit of honey or agave if you want to sweeten them up a bit. This is optional, and if your berries are very sweet, you can skip additional sweetener. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the strawberry puree onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spoon or spatula to spread the mixture in a completely even layer. You don't want the mixture to be too thin or too thick - this is where the experimenting comes in to play!
- Set the oven temperature to 250F degrees, and bake the fruit leather for 2-3 hours, until it is dry to the touch, and no longer sticky. Cooking times will vary depending on your particular oven and how thick you spread the mixture. The fruit leather will feel stiff when it comes out of the oven. Allow it to sit at room temperature to soften, about 2 hours (I have had best results when I've let it soften overnight).
- Keeping the fruit leather on the parchment paper, cut it into strips and roll up. Fruit leather can be stored at room temperature for a few months, although we never let ours sit around that long!