Friday, August 10, 2012

Strawberry Leather

Made in my oven, rather than the dehydrator. The appeal of rectangular sheets was just too much too resist. My dehydrator has the ubiquitous round trays with a large hole in the middle, and I wanted a finished snack with symmetry.

Yes, really. Ha ha ha. A bit OCD about that, are we? Oh yes, I do believe so.

So with the first test batch, here is what I learned about making fruit roll-ups in my pathetic oven which hasn't worked quite right in the twelve years I've owned this house.

I puréed strawberries and applesauce in my blender and poured the purée out onto a silicone baking sheet on a stoneware baking sheet. I tried to keep the fruit spread to a uniform 1/8inch thickness, but I think 1/4 inch thickness would be better.

I set my oven for 200 degrees, but that was a little too high, because I got some lightly browned parts on the slightly too thin leather that were crunchy strawberry chips at the end. Still tasty, but not the effect I was going for, as they had to be put in a jar to accommodate the small brittle pieces. Next time, I'll just use the "warm" setting, which should be around 180 degrees and create the heat for drying without cooking the fruit. It took about 5 hours to cook at 200, so 180 degrees may add a couple of hours.

Mostly a bit too thin, cooked rather than dried, and crisply brittle, this leather is still delicious but not quite substantial enough so I'll alter my method next time. :). The chips aren't bad, though. Even my dog likes them.

On my second batch, after I spread the purée too close to the edge of the silicone baking mat I used, I felt purée splattering my feet. Oops. I hope it doesn't roll off the edge of the baking mat in the oven! I'd rather have used a pan with a lip on it, but the silicone sheet I have was too big to fit.

I suppose I need a smaller one. Oh well, no problem with having two, right? On the brighter side, if I get one to fit inside my bar pan, I can always make a few jelly roll cakes, right? Then there is only the problem of finding someone to eat the stuff, instead of me doing it.

I think I might need to make some tomato leather too, with the wealth of tomatoes my dad shares each year at this time. :). I do love tomatoes, but after I've eaten them for a week, I get heartburn that lasts for weeks. Then I have to stop eating the tomatoes and someone gets angry that I'm no longer able to consume three or four tomatoes a day. Hey, I wish I could! I'd be ultra healthy! :) I just can't handle the nauseating tomato overdose effect. Eww.

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