Sweet Heat for Your Fruit Leathers
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!
This homemade strawberry jalapeño fruit leather does have a kick to it. The sweet will knock first, but that familiar little burn gives a little punch. It’s a delicious combination, but if you are not into spicy, try one of our other strawberry recipes.
About 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of strawberries is needed for this recipe. The rule of thumb for choosing jalapeños is they progressively get hotter the older they get, eventually turning bright red. As they age, they develop white lines and flecks, like stretch marks running in the direction of the length of the pepper. The smoother the pepper, the younger, and milder it is. The more white lines, the older and hotter your pepper is. Red jalapeños can be pretty hot, if they have a lot of striations, but they are also sweeter.
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?
To read our best tips & tricks, see Fruit Leather Perfection Secrets.
Spicy Strawberry 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)
4 cups strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and chopped (to taste)
- Select ripe or slightly overripe fruit. Wash fresh berries in cool water. Remove seeds and stem jalapeño peppers. Cut fruit into chunks. Finely dice peppers.
- 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.
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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