Fruit Leather Perfection Secrets


Hacks That Give You the Picture-Perfect Product Everyone Will Love!


Fruit Leathers are so easy to prepare with your dehydrator or oven. There are really few things that can go wrong. Many times all it takes are a few tips from the experts—dehydrating Moms who have found the secret to healthy snacking!

For the diabetic adult or child, fruit leathers made without sugar are a healthy choice for snacks or desserts. And with no preservatives, these tasty treats are perfect for a whole-food lifestyle! Eliminate artificial and unknown ingredients by making your own.

The recipes here on the website include instructions for dehydrators, but you can also make your fruit leathers in the oven with these instructions.


The Right Thickness & Flavor

  • The desired consistency of purée that is most suitable for drying into leather is that of applesauce.
    If it is too thick, try thinning it out with some water or juice, 1 tablespoon at a time.
    If too thin, try adding a fruit with lower water content like banana or applesauce/apple purée. Apple powder or orange powder (which has natural pectin) will thicken the purée as well.
  • Taste the purée and add a liquid sweetener or spices, if desired. Keep in mind that as the fruit dehydrates, the flavor becomes stronger and more concentrated. Very ripe fruit probably won’t need much sweetener, if any at all.
  • Granulated sugars are not usually used. Corn syrup or honey is best for longer storage because it prevents crystals. Sugar is fine for immediate use or short storage. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup, real maple syrup, agave syrup or honey for each 2 cups of fruit.
  • Saccharin-based sweeteners could also be used to cut tartness without adding calories. However,aspartame sweeteners may lose sweetness during drying.
  • If you’re afraid of your fruits changing color, you can add a little lemon juice to the purée to keep its color.
  • If you do not have enough fruit to equal the amount called for in your recipe, use unsweetened applesauce to make up the difference. It will not greatly alter the taste and you will achieve the same results.

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Check for Dryness

Photo Credit: Nesco/American Harvest

Leather dries from the outside edge toward the center. There are several ways to check for dryness.

  • Dark spots that are visible on the top of the leather is a sure sign that the fruit is not completely dry.
  • Another way to check for dryness is to press the leather with your finger. If no indentation is visible, the leather is dry.
  • Or, test by trying to pull the leather from the parchment paper or the dehydrator trays. If the leather peels easily, comes off in one piece and holds its shape, it is dry.
  • The leather should be pliable. If it becomes too dry it will crack and crumble and won’t roll. However, it is still edible and good to eat.

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Storage

It is important for the fruit to be completely dry or it will mold during storage.

  1. Place a length of clean plastic wrap, wax paper, freezer paper, or parchment/baking paper on the counter or table.
  2. Lay the leather flat on top of the wrap.
  3. Begin at one end and roll the leather with the plastic. The plastic will separate the layers of the fruit leather and keep them from sticking together.

Round Trays a Problem?

Cut your rolls into triangular wedges. Roll them like croissant dough. No one will complain, trust me.

The rolled fruit leather can be stored in a food grade plastic bag (acceptable) or a clean, dry, insect-proof container such as a glass jar or parchment-lined metal can with a lid (best).

  • The leather may be stored in a cupboard for 1-3 months. The cooler the storage area, the longer the shelf-life of the leather.
  • In the refrigerator or freezer the product will keep for more than 1 year.
  • Any fruit leathers containing nut products, coconut, or other oils are best refrigerated or frozen for longer freshness as these items can become rancid because of the oils/fats in the products.

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Use Your Fruit Leathers in Many Ways

  • Because fruit leathers are lightweight, they store and pack easily. You might make several varieties to pack in the lunch box or for that mid-morning or afternoon snack.
  • Think about packing them in backpacks to take along when hiking, camping, and fishing.
  • You can make vegetable and bean leathers as well for snacking when you don’t want something sweet. A nice corn and bean leather is considered a complete protein and packs a nice protein boost on the trail!
  • You can also store fruit and vegetable leathers for later use in powdering and adding to your cooking. This gives you the most freshness in an easily stored application.

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