Don’t Have a Dehydrator? Ovens May Work as Well.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, that’s ok; you may still make fruit leather in the oven.
Prepare the Oven
Oven drying can be used if you can support an oven temperature of 140ºF/60ºC. If the oven temperature is higher than this, case hardening can be an issue. Case hardening is a dried crust that forms on the outside of the food, preventing the inner moisture from escaping. Before using the oven for making fruit leather, test the oven temperature to make certain the oven can hold at 140ºF/60ºC.
- Set the oven temperature at 140ºF/60ºC.
- Open the oven door 2 to 6 inches to increase air circulation. Prop the door open with a wooden spoon.
- Place a fan outside the open oven door to help increase air circulation inside the oven.
Note: This is not a safe procedure to use when small children and pets are present.
- Place an oven thermometer on a rack near where the food would be placed.
- Adjust the oven dial to maintain a 140ºF/60ºC temperature.
If the oven cannot maintain these low temperatures, another form of drying should be considered. Accurate temperatures are key to successful drying in the oven.
Convection Oven Owners: If you have a convection oven with a circulating fan, Steps 2 and 3 are not necessary.
Steps for Oven Drying Fruit Leathers
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Parchment paper tends to get wrinkly from the moisture of the fruit, but it won’t really affect the result. A 12 x 17-inch cookie sheet holds about 2 cups of purée.
- Spread the purée evenly over the paper, about 1/8 to 1/4 inches (3-6 mm) thick. Do not push the purée completely to the sides. Leave a bit of paper showing for easy removal.
- Place the cookie sheet on an oven rack. Use the oven thermometer near the food to make ensure correct internal temperatures.
- It can take 6 to 24 hours to dry fruit leather in the oven. The length of time depends on sugar content and room humidity. Check often to make sure the oven is holding its temperature and to check for dryness. Always test for dryness before storing.
- Cook, undisturbed for 6 to 24 hours, or until the fruit leather is dry to the touch yet pliable and not sticky.
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