My thirtieth birthday was last month. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive and not really looking forward to turning thirty. My wonderful husband knew this and really knocked the birthday celebrations out of the park this year. Not only did he send me on an all day shopping trip but he planned a surprise dinner with some of my best friends. He also bought me this amazing dehydrator and a brand new pressure canner. These might not sound like exciting gifts to most but as a lover of all things related to food preservation, I was ecstatic!
Dehydrating food is a fairly new skill for me but it’s one that I really want to perfect. Preserving Everything by Leda Meredith has been a helpful resource for me in learning the basics of dehydrating. She covers almost every method of food preservation you can think of and has a section specifically discussing dehydration of foods. I can’t wait to start dehydrating all the delicious garden produce this summer!
We have a ton of extra spinach in the greenhouse right now so I put it to good use in this recipe. Berry and Spinach fruit leather was one of the first things I made using my brand new dehydrator. Dehydrating simply removes all the water from the fruit while leaving all the nutrients intact, which makes fruit leather a very healthy snack. Don’t be turned off by the spinach in this recipe. It really bumps up the nutritional value and I promise you cannot taste it at all. The berry flavor is what really stands out. My kids loved this snack and had no idea they were even eating vegetables. That’s a mom win in my book!
Follow these super simple steps to make your own fruit leather in the dehydrator.
Berry and Spinach Fruit Leather
- 4 cups mix of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries either fresh or frozen can be used
- 2 cups spinach
Place the berries in a saucepan and add the spinach on top of the berries. Cover with a lid and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to combine the spinach in with the berries.
Use a blender to combine the berries and spinach into a puree.
Place parchment paper on each dehydrator tray.
Pour 1 cup of the heated mixture onto each tray. Spread the mixture out to 1/8 in thickness.
Dehydrate at 145 degrees for 4-6 hours. You will want to check the fruit leather frequently after 4 hours. The leather is done when it is dry to the touch and easily pulls away from the parchment paper.
Allow the fruit leather to cool completely.
Once it is cool, leave the fruit leather on the parchment paper. Use kitchen scissors to cut the fruit leather and paper into strips that are about 12 inches in length. Then simply roll up with the paper on the outside and store in an airtight container.
Here are a couple other tips for making fruit leather:
- Be careful not to spread the puree to thin or dehydrate it for too long as the leather can become crunchy instead of chewy.
- Fresh or frozen berries can be used interchangeably in this recipe. I chose to use frozen for no reason other than that is what I had on hand at the moment.
- You can still make this recipe even if you don’t have a dehydrator! An alternate method would be to set your oven at the lowest possible setting and spread the puree out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Even at the lowest setting though the oven will not be as low a temperature as the dehydrator. This means that you really have to watch it closely to keep it from getting overdone. Follow the same steps for cutting and storing the fruit leather as in the recipe above.
- Fruit leather stores very well in an airtight container. We ate all of it in a couple of days but it should store just fine for up to a month when kept at room temperature. You can always put some of it in the freezer if you don’t plan on eating it all right away.
Keep your eye out for future dehydrator recipes since I am more than a little obsessed with my dehydrator now!