Fruit Roll Up Anyone?

When I was a kid I loved sour sweets especially Haribo Tangfastic Sour mix and Sour Cherries. I’ve just discovered something even better, it is 1000 times healthier than standard sweets, contains no sugar or other sweetener and is 100% natural, easy to make and raw; homemade sour cherry fruit roll ups mmm mmm mmmmmmmm. 

Oh my gosh the sourness is out of this world and will send your taste buds into a frenzy.

It is coming to the end of cherry season and my mother in-law called me over to her place the other day to give me a tub full of sour cherries (AKA Byssina in Greek). When I was pregnant I would eat them as they were straight from the tree but since having the baby I can only handle about 5 in one sitting. When she gave them to me she also told me that the trees were full of sour cherries and that if we didn’t pick them and eat them in the next couple of days they would fall off the trees and go to waste, so with bag in hand I went out and picked as many as I possibly could in the lunchtime heat. I figured I’d make something with them, perhaps juice or ice-cream. When I got home it took me an hour to pit them and while pitting them I was trying to think of what I could do with so many sour cherries in such a short time (they spoil very quickly once off the tree). The only thing I could come up with was fruit leathers. 

What is a fruit leather?

In short a fruit leather is blended fruit dried at low temperatures.  Because the fruit is practically a liquid it is easily spread/poured thinly and dehydrated at low temperatures for long periods of time.  Once dried the fruit resembles leather in texture and is easy to store, or carry with you for a quick snack.

How to make fruit leathers or fruit roll ups

Fruit Rolls Take any fruit of your choice; some of my favourites for this are pear, apricot, peach, banana and orange juice, Galia melon and not forgetting sour cherry. If you are feeling partifcularly brave and you love your greens you can even make fruit leathers out of left over green smoothies.  You will need about 500ml of blended fruit for each Excalibur dehydrator tray, so provided your dehydrator has the space fill a blender jug full of fruit and blend until everything is liquefied (you may need to stop and scape down the side of the blender and help it along.) Once you have a smooth mixture take your dehydrator trays with teflex sheets and pour about 500ml of the mixture onto each tray, using a spatula spread the mixture as flat and smoothly as possible. Put the trays into the dehydrator and dehydrate at about 125oC for 12 hours, once the fruit has solidified enough you can carefully peel away the teflex sheets flip the leather over onto each tray without teflex sheets and dehydrate on the other side for a further 2-4 hours.

Fruit Rolls I made my first batch of sour cherry roll-ups and boy are they sour, I loved them so much I went back to my mother in-laws the following day and stripped all the trees of their cherries. The second time I added some apple to make the sour cherries go further and add a little sweetness. I used 1 kg pitted sour cherries and 500g cored, peeled granny smith apples, but you can add as much as 50% apple if you prefer. The apple didn't overpower the cherries at all and the colour and flavour was as intense as it was without the added apple.
When the sheets are ready remove the trays from the dehydrator and using a pair of kitchen scissors cut the sheets into strips as thick and as long as you like and roll them up. You can store the roll ups in the fridge which will also make them crispy and easier to chew and eat or store at room temperature.

Fruit leathers are a favourite with my children too especially when left in the fridge an hour or 2 and allowed to crisp up.  You can use them to decorate raw ice-cream, crunched up on top of raw cakes or most of all eaten as they are. 

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