I’m up to my elbows in apples right now. Our beautiful tree has blessed us with an abundance of fruit, and I am on a mission to not waste it. Apple crisp, baked apples, apple noodles with my spiralizer, dried apples, and applesauce. We’ve made it all. And today I am sharing how I made 5 different amazing apple fruit leathers.
There is something completely satisfying about making use of the things around me. Don’t you agree? I live in Northern California where we are blessed with an abundance of food growing all around us. Every year, I notice tons of fruit going to waste on trees all around me. I think the art of preserving food is lost to many folks. Are we too busy to take advantage of the gifts given to us? Not this mama!
This week my dear friend, Lauren, and I set out on a mission to make applesauce with all of the apples falling off the trees around us. I’m all about the buddy system when it comes to working in the kitchen. There was a time when folks got together and processed, preserved, and shared the bounty of the seasons. It was quite easy and tons of fun, even with our 2 toddlers running around. We washed, peeled, cored, and cooked down the apples into delicious homemade applesauce.
OK, confession time: I’m a total sucker for nifty kitchen gadgets. Lauren has an apple peeler corer. If you haven’t seen one, it’s a simple metal tool that clamps to a cutting board or table that peels, cores, and slices your apples all is one swift turn of the cute little handle. I love it! It made making applesauce super easy and super fun. While Lauren gathered and washed the apples, I happily turned this magical machine over and over again to watch the perfect little strips of apple peel twirl off. I’m a dork, I know!
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All said and done, we made 3 gallons of applesauce, all from free apples. I’m feeling pretty accomplished. Now what to to with all this sauce? I could can it all. Nothing like homemade apple sauce over warm, steamy grain free pumpkin pancakes in the winter. But I decided to experiment instead. I came home and made 5 different flavors of apple fruit leathers, with my little one as my taste- tester. She’s 2, and her response to each flavor was an enthusiastic “YUMMY!” That’s my girl.
Apple fruit leathers are easy to make. Add your favorite flavorings and puree your applesauce until creamy smooth. I used my Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator. It took about 12 hours. I’m wary of the non-stick, teflon-coated sheets made for dehydrators, so I just use unbleached parchment paper on the trays. It works just fine. I’ve also seen folks dry the fruit leather on baking sheets in the oven on the lowest setting.
The recipes below are quite simple. They all have the same amount of apple sauce (3 cups). Each batch made 2 large sheets of apple fruit leather. This will vary depending on your trays. Have fun with this. Experiment.
How to Make Homemade Applesauce:
Making applesauce is a breeze. Peel, core, and roughly chop your apples. Add to a big pot, toss in some lemon juice (about 4 TBS for 12 apples) and stir to coat. Cook on medium heat, and when apples begin to sweat and give off their juices, pour in a bit of unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice. Just enough to have about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot. Continue to cook apples down until soft and breaking apart. Give it a good stir every once in a while. Applesauce is done when all of the apples are soft and easily mash down.
I never add sweetener to my applesauce. It doesn’t need it. If you are a chunky applesauce kind of person, leave it as is. If you like it a bit smoother, you can use an immersion blender to break it down more or run it through a food mill.
5 Apple Fruit Leather Recipes
- 3 cups apple sauce
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ginger powder (like this)
- 1/8 tsp cardamom powder (like this)
- 3 cups apple sauce
- 1 cup cooked pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- 1/8 tsp clove powder (like this)
- 3 cups applesauce
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 3 cups applesauce
- 4 TBS homemade elderberry syrup
Place ingredients into high speed blender OR use immersion blender to puree until creamy smooth.
If using dehydrator: Cover mesh screens with unbleached parchment paper and pour mixture on top. Spread evenly until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Dehydrate overnight until no longer sticky and has a smooth surface, usually around 8-12 hours, depending on your dehydrator. For cooked purees, I use 125’F, and for raw purees, I use 105’F to preserve the living enzymes.
If drying in an oven: Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Pour mixture onto parchment paper and spread evenly until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Set oven to lowest temperature possible (140’F to 145’F, and dehydrate until no longer sticky and has a smooth surface (6-10 hours.)