Strawberries are available year round, but the month of June is when they’re at their best; bright red, full of flavor and sweetness. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium and contain disease fighting antioxidants. This red berry shows up in jams, jellies as well as the perennially favorite, shortcake. You may be used to eating them with your cereal or yogurt, but how about using them for something different: making your own fruit leather. It’s easier to make than you might think and much healthier than the processed stuff marketed toward kids in the grocery store. The cooking process does involves a commitment of time, because it’s baked at a very low temperature, so plan on making this when you know you’ll be around for a while.
Strawberry Fruit Leather
- 2 quarts of strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut in half
- ¼ cup of honey (optional)
Preheat oven to 175 degrees F.
Puree berries in a blender or food processor until smooth. Place puree in a large pot over medium heat and add honey, if using, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.
Place a silicone baking mat on a large 12” x 17” rimmed sheet pan. Pour strawberry mixture onto the middle of mat and spread the puree evenly, ensuring the same thin consistency throughout.
Place sheet pan in the center rack of the oven and bake for approximately 5 hours until fruit leather has darkened to a deep red and is dry to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Place a sheet of parchment paper over the top of the fruit leather and invert the baking sheet onto the parchment. Slowly remove the silicone mat. Roll the leather with the parchment underneath, from the short side and cut into desired widths. Store fruit leather in an air tight container.
Content submitted by Janyce Gately, MS, RD, LDN, CHC