Sneak in Some Green Nutrition
Fruit leather is a chewy, dried fruit product, much like Fruit Roll-ups, that you can make at home with your dehydrator. Fruit leathers are made by pouring puréed fruit onto a flat surface for drying. When dried, the fruit is pulled from the surface and rolled. It gets the name “leather” from the fact that when puréed fruit is dried, it is shiny and has the texture of leather. Loved by kids of all ages, these are easy to make and quite tasty!
Sneak in some added nutrition no one will even notice! You don’t taste the spinach at all. Not only does this fruit leather recipe sneak in some spinach, it’s also sugar-free. Start with flavorful, sweet apples like Fuji, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Gala, or Golden Delicious work well here. When dry, the leather tends to turn a greenish-brown.
A pound of apples becomes a generous 10 ounces of peeled, cored, chopped/sliced apples. Since a cup of prepared apples weighs about 3 1/2 ounces, 1 pound of whole apples translates to about 3 cups of prepared apples. When a recipe calls for cooked fresh spinach, 1 pound of fresh spinach will yield 10 cups of torn leaves. One package (10 ounces) of frozen spinach leaves yields about 1-1/2 cups after cooking.
To learn about making fruit leathers in general, see Fruit Roll Ups Recipe.
For hacks to keep your leathers from sticking, see Food Stuck to Dehydrator Trays?
To make Fruit Leather in your oven, see Making Fruit Leathers in Your Oven.
To handle cracks and buckles in your Fruit Leathers, see Cracks in Your Fruit Leathers?
Green Apple & Spinach Fruit Leather
This recipe makes:
2 full fruit leather trays for Excalibur-type dehydrators (box-shaped) or
3 full 15-inch fruit leather trays for Nesco-type dehydrators (round-shaped)
3 cups green, sweet apples-peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach or 10 ounces frozen spinach
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice blend (optional)
- Select ripe or slightly overripe fruit. Wash fresh fruit or berries in cool water. Remove peel, large seeds and stem. Cut fruit into chunks. If using frozen spinach, thaw and drain before using.
- Using blade attachment in the food processor, blend ingredients until fruit until is smooth (or use a high-powered blender, processing in batches).
- Fruit leathers can be poured into a single large sheet (13″ X 15″) or into several smaller sizes. Spread purée evenly, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick, onto solid drying tray or line rimmed bare trays with a good grade of parchment paper. An offset spatula will help with evenness. Tamp the trays lightly on the countertop to help even out as well.
- Avoid pouring purée too close to the edge of the trays. The larger fruit leathers take longer to dry. Approximate drying times are 6 to 8 hours in a dehydrator, up to 18 hours in an oven.
- Dry fruit leathers at 140°F/60°C. Flip the leathers halfway through to speed drying. Leather dries from the outside edge toward the center. Test for dryness by touching center of leather; no indentation should be evident.
- While warm, peel from trays and roll, allow to cool. Rewrap the roll in plastic or parchment after cutting with a pizza cutter or kitchen scissors. Cookie cutters are used to cut out shapes that children will enjoy.
To use Spinach Powder in this recipe:
- Increase the green apples to 4 cups and
- Replace the fresh or frozen spinach with 2 tablespoons spinach powder.
Store in an airtight container. Chances are the fruit leather will not last long enough for storage. If it does, it will keep up to 1 month at room temperature.
For storage up to 1 year, place tightly wrapped rolls in the freezer.
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