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If you've never made fruit leather you are in for a treat.  I've been playing around with different fruit combinations for over a year now and the results have been consistently good.  My kids devour this stuff.  I always envision myself making enough over the summer so that I can toss it in their lunches during the school year, but I'd have to find a really good hiding spot first.  

I first thought about making fruit leather when I came across a recipe for it in the Ball Blue Book of Preserving.  Ball suggests using the following fruits alone or in combination:  apples, apricots, berries, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, pineapple and plums.  I often toss in a banana or a few tablespoons of plain or vanilla yogurt.  (I would love to experiment with cooked rhubarb.)  Fruits that oxidoze and turn brown need to be heated very briefly before spreading.

You will need a blender, two sheet pans, non-stick aluminum foil and a spatula.  Oh, and fruit.

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The first fruit leather I make every year is strawberry, so for the purposes of this recipe we will use strawberries.  First, fill your blender with clean, hulled strawberries.  Puree the strawberries.  I have found that about 1 1/2 cups of fruit puree equals two sheet pans of fruit leather.  Taste the strawberry puree to determine if it needs any sweetening.  If you decide that it is a bit tart add 1 tablespoon of honey or corn syrup.  Sugar will not work because it absorbs moisture and will result in a sticky leather.  

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Pour the strawberry puree on to a half-sheet pan lined with non-stick aluminum foil.  (Be sure that the non-stick side is up... learned that the hard way.)  Using a spatula spread the puree evenly to 1/8 inch thick.  


I dry my fruit leather above my stove using the warming lights on my hood vent.  If you don't have such a setup, preheat your oven to the lowest temperature and turn it off.  Place the sheet pans in your oven and prop open the door.  You may need to toy with this a bit by turning your oven on here and there and switching the position of your pans.  Usually my fruit leather is done in about a day.
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When my fruit leather is no longer sticky I peel it off and flip it over to allow the other side to dry for a few hours.  Then I roll it up in wax paper, cut it into strips and toss it in a canning jar.  






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