Thursday, April 21, 2016

Waste Not Fruit Leather

 Are you guys getting this crazy heat!?  88 degrees in April just seems surreal!  I used to LOVE the sun, and it couldn't get too hot for me, but now I'm afraid Alaska has ruined me.  I feel like I'm melting as soon as the mercury hits 80 and I'm more than a little concerned about this upcoming summer!  But, oh!  The blooms!  The variety of plants that are thriving in this climate never ceases to astound me.  My neighbor threw some lilac boughs on the burn pile yesterday because she had to thin her tree out a little, but I couldn't bear it!  I had to rescue them and brought them all in the house! =)

We've had a lovely week of exploring gardens, wading in creeks, and shooting with friends.  Not to mention catching tad poles and filling up the kiddie pool!  Our little lady has decided that while we're out and about, her snack of choice is an apple.  Not slices, no, the whole thing.  And that's all well and good except, she gets it to where it is just beginning to look polka-dotted with her tiny little bite marks and then she decides she's done.  Even on her best day, she'll eat off all the skin but doesn't want to eat the flesh.  But I'm pretty okay with it because of my latest technique for using what we have. 

Last summer we made a lot of smoothies with unfinished bits of fruit, but this spring I've been taking it a different direction.  Like I've said before, good fresh fruit was difficult to come by in Fairbanks, so it pains me to see it go to waste!  So lately, I've taken the leftover bits and pieces and throwing them into the blender, then in my dehydrator to make fruit leather.  This is so easy!  I only have one tray right now, so my blender half filled with puree will then fill my dehydrator tray just about perfectly.  As. Kadee mentions in her post Oh So Delicioso, the right consistency comes from patience and spreading it so it's just thicker than transparent.  In the dehydrator set to 135, this will take about 6 hours to fully dry. But keep checking on it as you get close because different combinations are going to take different lengths.  It should feel fairly dry to the touch. 

And flavor combinations are endless!   Right now, mine usually involve some apple and banana, but I've been adding in melon, orange, and blackberries.  I did a couple adding a spoonful of honey or sweetened jam, but it certainly wasn't necessary.  I even did one that was about half Greek yogurt!  It was really tasty!  This is another place to sneak in some well paired vegetables as well, like cucumber, spinach and carrots.  I've snuck them all in! =) 

So far this spring, I haven't had a batch last more than a day.  The young 'uns eat it like candy, it's easy to make and easy to grab on the go!  My next batch is going to be blackberry watermelon.  What other concoctions could we come up with?

Note: our family shares our own germs, but if you're making this to share outside of immediate family, I recommend using non-nibbled fruit! =)

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