Summertime Moments All Year Long
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!
The first slice of juicy, sweet watermelon signifies that summer has begun. Savor the moment and sip on it all year long when you use Watermelon Fruit Purée watermelon taste and texture in a fruit leather.
Although it sounds like a lot, this recipe goes together quickly. The key is straining the pulp from the liquid as watermelon is 92% water. Reserve the liquid for yummy ice cubes, drinks, and sherbet. Two small seedless watermelons will produce 9 cups liquid and 2 cups solids. Some seeds may still be present, just remove any found. Save the rinds as well for Watermelon Rind Pickles. Left over watermelon? Try our Watermelon Sugar (& Jerky) Recipe!
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?
Watermelon 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)
8 cups watermelon, cubed
3 ripe bananas, mashed
- Select ripe or slightly overripe fruit. Wash fresh fruit in cool water. Remove peel and any seeds. Cut fruit into chunks.
- Pour cubed watermelon into a blender and purée.
- Place a mesh sieve or a cheesecloth lined colander over a large bowl and pour watermelon purée through the sieve/colander.
- With a flat spatula, gently push the watermelon solids to help squeeze out more watermelon juice. Repeat steps 2 and 3, until all watermelon is processed.
- Pour juice into a pitcher. Refrigerate to chill for use in other recipes.
- Using blade attachment in the food processor, blend watermelon purée and mashed bananas 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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