The first time I heard about fruit leather or roll-ups was when I moved to the USA. They are a very popular healthy snack for kids (the homemade version. You can also find fruit leather snacks at the grocery store but the ingredients’ list is not so healthy…). It’s a very thin layer of fruit puree’ on a parchment paper foil that has been dehydrated in order to form a gluey sheet that you can cut in stripes and roll…to form cute small roll-ups. The fun part for the kids is unrolling the fruit leather and chewing it slowly. There are different ways for the kids of having fun while eating the fruit leather. My little Luca loves holding the fruit roll with his teeth and pretending it is a huge long tongue 🙂
If your kid is picky about eating fruit or if you are looking for a fun idea for a lunch box, this recipe will help. The recipe itself is so easy that as soon as my little Luca reached the proper age (18 months/2 yrs) I wanted to try. It has been a big hit since than 🙂
What you will need:
The strawberries at the farmers’ market were so sweet that I couldn’t resist. You will just need a small basket, 10 oz. Wash the strawberries and pat them with a paper towel. Place them in a blender altogether with 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and 3 Tablespoons of agave nectar or honey. If the fruit is particularly sweet you can always reduce the amount of agave/honey.
Blend everything for 1/2 minutes in order to obtain a smooth and creamy puree’.
Pour the strawberry puree on a parchment paper on a baking sheet and with the help of a spoon level the puree and spread it. You do not want the puree to be too thick and at the same time you do not want to see the parchment paper below.
Bake the strawberries in the oven at 170 F. for 3 hours. Considering the low temperature and the timing you’re not really baking…you’re dehydrating 🙂 A quick note. Strawberries might have more or less water: consider the 3 hours like an average timing. You will see that the roll-ups are ready when you will press a finger on the strawberry layer and it will not feel sticky, just a bit tacky and gluey. They will dry up even more once cooled down. Do not over bake or the fruit leather will be too crisp to roll and will break in small pieces.
Remove from the oven, let it cool down and cut it in stripes. For my little Luca I like narrow stripes of 2 inches, but you can cut long stripes or short ones as you like.
Roll each stripe and store them in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week/10 days.
Of course you can use different kind of fruit (mango, peaches, apricots, apples)…the more watery the fruit is, the more baking time it will require.