Wrapping up the Garden – Making Fruit Leather

We are having an early fall here in southwest Idaho. We have been working almost every day canning and drying the bounty from nature.

Making fruit leather; this is almost too good to be true. All you need is a dehydrator, (your oven will do), and a few normal kitchen appliances. You can use almost any fruit or combination of fruits. We have used apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, and even grapes. The grapes don’t work quite as well because they are too juicy. All you got to do is peel and pit the fruit, and run it through a blender or food processor until it is a thick texture. We like to add about ½ cup honey but a bit of sugar would be ok too. We even added a bit of cinnamon to the peach mixture. Then heat the fruit mixture to 190 degrees and then let it cool.

Cover your drying trays with Saran-wrap so the dry mixture won’t stick to the trays. I bought some light duty aluminum pizza trays at Wallyworld that can be used over and over. Spread your fruit mixture thinly over the trays and place in the dehydrator. I set mine at 135 degrees and it has a fan to keep the air moving. Usually takes overnight plus a bit to dry. When dry roll up the Saran-wrap and store if you can keep from eating them right away. Pure fruit and honey, your kids will think they are eating candy.

This is another recipe from the Ball canning guide. Can’t get along without this book.

Home made V-8 type juice. Because tomatoes are a high acid fruit you must follow the recipe as to quantities of ingredients. First the tomatoes, big juicy ones are best but I use whatever I have. I even throw in a few cherry tomatoes if I have extra that I haven’t eaten while in the garden. Wash and peel the tomatoes, cut into quarters and boil to soften the fruit. I usually don’t bother to peel but just quarter and boil.

Mash the fruit to get the most juice out. If you have boiling water juicer use it. I do and use it on most fruit juices that I make. Other ingredients include onions, celery, bell peppers, ( I often substitute a Serrano or two for one of the bells), sugar, and some spices. Just a bit of sugar and no salt. Read the label on a can of commercial V-8, I am diabetic and have to watch what I eat. Don’ forget to add lemon juice to each jar before canning; this offsets the high acid in the fruit. Many recipes are available on the internet.

Potatoes, yes it is ok to can potatoes. Again, follow the recipe in the Ball canning guide. These will taste very good next spring when all the fresh ones have been eaten up. They can also be dried but it looked like more work than it is worth. Nothing special about canning potatoes, peel and cube, cook and can. Nothing added but a bit of salt.

The other item pictured is Hot Pickled Peppers for my grandson. Just washed and cut into one-inch pieces and pickled. I mixed Serrano, Ancho, Jalapeno, and banana peppers. Wear latex gloves when handling these hot peppers! Clean your tools and counters before taking the gloves off too. The Ball guide has this recipe. Way too hot for me so I haven’t tried these.

We will be juicing apples, grapes, and nectarines soon. The boiling water juicer makes this a snap. There is just nothing like having pure healthy juice to drink. We don’t add anything to our juice, it is just the way nature intended it. Read the label on store bought juice and see all the sugars and junk that has been added.

James Laress
James is a 28-year-old former health center receptionist who enjoys cycling, cookery and adult coloring books. He is friendly and likes to travel with his friends. He loves to check out the best products in the market that's why he made HuntForBest

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