design-inspired urban farming
We’ve been in major food preservation mode as the summer season starts winding down. Thanks to our friends at The Institute of Domestic Technology, we’ve been learning all sorts of new tricks to package, preserve and prolong the taste of summer.
The following fruit leather recipe is one we came up with in our kitchens. And the options for spices are endless. I am a huge fan of citrus and Christmas spices, particularly with apples. The citrus brightens up the flavors so the leather doesn’t get too wintery. We used orange zest and grapefruit bitters to add some summer essence. The base of this super easy recipe starts with unsweetened apple sauce and can be made any time of the year. This is a perfect recipe to try lots of flavor combinations with spices and extracts. Tasting along the way is key! Remember, you can always add but you can’t take anything out, so add in small doses and taste until you get where you like it. And keep in mind, the flavors will get more intense and sweeter once the leather has dehydrated completely.
Spiced Citrus Apple Fruit Leather
16 oz. unsweetened apple sauce
20 drops grapefruit bitters
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp orange zest
Pour apple sauce into a small to medium sized bowl. Mix in bitters, spices, vanilla and orange zest. Combine well with a spoon. Taste to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
With a rubber spatula scrape all contents out of the bowl onto a silpat lined tray. A cookie sheet or pizza pan will work. You’ll need to spread the mixture onto an area of approximately 12″ x 14″. Use an offset spatula or your rubber spatula to spread the mixture out evenly. Try and maintain a consistent thickness throughout. Minimize any lacy areas that will dry up and create holes in your leather.
Place the baking pans into the oven set at the lowest temperature your oven will allow in
the convection setting (if available) and leave the oven door ajar to allow air and moisture to escape. Allow the puree to dry for 4 to 8 hours. Rotate the pans every hour. The total time of drying varies depending on the type of fruit, the amount of fruit and the humidity in the region.
Remove the fruit leather from the oven when it feels tacky but no longer contains any moisture. Allow it to cool to room temperature, and then roll the wax paper up like a scroll with the leather inside. Cut 1-inch strips in the roll and place the pieces in freezer bags. Store the fruit leather in a cool, dry place.