The weather has really warmed up here this week and so, naturally, I picked this time to make projects that require the oven on for hours at a time! I'm not completely insane - it's been on the lowest setting...
I have made quite a few attempts to make fruit leather over the years. I have lost a couple of baking trays and many hours in the fight to work out how to make it. This year, I may have actually managed it!
Mistakes I have made in the past have been:
1. Not lining the baking tray. This results in a burnt-on sticky mess that is near impossible to clean.
2. Splitting the batch of sweetened fruit puree between two trays - this makes it too thin which either burns or cannot be peeled off the baking paper. Most of the contents of the mixture are water, of course, so it does look like too much to begin with but it will reduce significantly with cooking.
I scribbled the bones of this recipe down from a library book but unfortunately (and unusually for me) failed to note down which one, so apologies for that.
The preparation is very quick and easy - so long as you have a blender of some kind - and it requires little attention once in the oven however, it needs six hours to dehydrate this way.
Fruits of the Forest Fruit Leather
300g strawberries, hulled
Juice of 1 lemon
Simply wash the fruit, blend together with the honey and lemon juice and pour into a lined baking tray. Place in the oven at 80 Centigrade for approximately six hours.
I had to do the obligatory hold it up to the light shot. Look at the colour of it!!
The fruit leather tastes as you might expect - fruity, sweet (but not too sweet), summery... the various seeds give it a nice crunch but the mixture could be strained first, I suspect (I'd do this before adding the honey).
Fruit leather has been a hit in our home but I think it will be a once a year kind of thing.
I have also been making slow-roasted tomatoes this week which uses much the same method but with the oven a little bit warmer.
I love this Smitten Kitchen post on how to go about it (don't omit the garlic - it makes such a difference!) and the idea for storing them in olive oil to make them last longer. I say I loved the idea of it, in reality the slow-roasted tomatoes are so delectable that, out of the two batches I have made so far, none have survived more than three hours beyond the end of cooking time!
In the long run it would be cheaper to purchase a proper dehydrator and I LOVE the idea of that - think of all the wonderful things I could do with it! However, I don't have any room for another appliance. I'd love to borrow one for a week or so, though - wouldn't it be fun if you could easily rent domestic kitchen equipment?