In this week's At Home With Martin & Sylvia story, “Really Explorers,” Daddy wakes brother and sister early in the morning to hike Mount Mooseberry. He and Momma give them the added challenge of leading the way up the trail because they know there may be magical secrets that the mountain has been saving for them!
When I was little, my dad and I hiked in the redwoods, and he would often let me dash ahead on the trail to see the forest first, just like Martin & Sylvia do. When I got tired from all that running, one of my favorite snacks was a bright red, “fruit roll-up.”
For my kiddos, we don't do fruit roll-ups, but we do enjoy homemade fruit leather.
If you can make a smoothie, you can make homemade fruit leather. While it takes a little time, it's almost all inactive, hands-off prep. And, contrary to what many people believe, you don't need a dehydrator—you can make fruit leather in a regular oven.
What you do need is a blender. You can get away with using a stick blender if that's what you have, but don't try to cheat and use a food processor or mash your fruit by hand. You'll never get it quite broken down to the right puree consistency.
The recipe below takes advantage of peach season, which is just hitting it's peak in North America, but feel free to experiment with other fruits. Whether you're hiking the redwoods, playing in tide pools, roaming the lakeshore, or climbing up Mount Mooseberry, these sweet roll-ups are a delicious treat to tuck in your pack.
Homemade Peach Fruit Leather
4 peaches (about 2 pounds, the riper the better)
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Roughly chop the peaches, removing the pits as you do so. Use a blender to puree the peaches until they're very smooth, then spread the puree to an even thickness on a parchment linked bake sheet.
Allow the peaches to cook for 3-4 hours, or until the surface is no longer sticky on top. (The exact time will depend on how ripe the peaches were when you started.) Pull the bake sheet out of the oven, and allow it to sit in the open for several hours or overnight. The fruit leather will seem much too crispy at first, but it will soften up as it collects moisture from the air.
Once the leather is pliable, use kitchen shears to cut it into long strips. Lay the strips on fresh strips of parchment, gently roll them up, and secure the rolls with tape until you're ready to enjoy.
About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.