Chewy and Cheap: Homemade Strawberry Fruit Leather
For a quick and nonperishable snack, fruit leathers are perfect for keeping in your gym bag or purse. But costing almost a dollar each, these snacks can quickly add up in price. With a food processor, an oven, and a lazy afternoon, it's easy to whip up a batch of fresh-tasting fruit leathers for a fraction of the cost. And bonus — these homemade fruit leathers contain 15 calories instead of the 45 in most store-bought brands.
Prep the Pan
Preheat your oven to 150°F (or as low as your oven will go). Line an 11-by-17 cookie sheet with a Silpat baking mat. If you don't have one, use parchment paper, although a Silpat will offer better results.
Prep the Fruit
Wash, dry, and cut up four cups of strawberries (or other in-season fruit of your choice, such as peaches, bananas, or raspberries; frozen fruit works, too). Place in a food processor or blender.
Puree the fruit until completely smooth, about 30 seconds.
Pour and Bake
Slowly pour the pureed fruit onto the prepared pan. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to spread it out evenly. Carefully slide the pan into the oven, and bake for eight hours (or six to seven hours if your oven is at a slightly higher temperature).
Cut and Store
Remove the pan once the fruit is set and still slightly tacky. Be careful not to overcook, as you'll end up with fruit chips instead of fruit leather. Once the fruit has cooled to room temperature, slowly peel it off the mat or parchment paper. Lay it on a cutting board, and use a knife to cut out 12 portions; store in an airtight container.
Depending on the cost of the strawberries, each fruit leather averages around 40 cents to make.