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Good Gardening: Fruit Leather

fruit leather.jpg
John Fischer
KLCC's Master gardener John Fischer says fruit leather can be dried quickly, without a dehydrator, by placing it on your roof.

It's fruit season in Oregon, and it's summer. The combination is perfect for making your own fruit roll-up that has only one ingredient - fruit. And by using the sun to dry what I call fruit leather, it won't cost you a thing to make.

Plums are my go to ingredient, but peaches, nectarines, figs, and grapes work well too. Apples and pears are better as dried fruits, but apple plum can be good too.

Here is the recipe. Pick and pit fruit. Puree fruit in the blender. Heat puree to almost boiling. Pour it onto greased cookie sheets and set out in the sun.

I dry my fruit leather on the roof. It's usually done in one day. If it is windy, I put a screen over it to keep leaves and twigs from falling in. The screen keeps flies off too, although on the roof they are rare. Honey bees might eat a little, but they deserve all the help they can get.

Here are a few things to watch out for: Many plums will shed a bit of pit - same with peaches. Keep it out of the leather, or pick it out after it's dried. If you dry it without boiling, you will get leather chips. Tasty but not as fun as leather. And you will get the effect of eating lots of raw fruit. The boiling eliminates that.

I store my dried leather rolled up on a piece of waxed paper - which I save to use the next year. It stores fine at room temperature, but peach and nectarine get brittle over time. A mixture of fruits is almost always better than just one.

dried apples.jpg
John Fischer
Fruit can be dried quickly in a parked car.

You can also dry the leather- and any fruit - in a parked car. Leave the windows cracked, to let out moisture, don't put it in the direct sun if it is over 90 degrees, and get ready for a lovely scent to surprise your passengers.