Forget the fake, sugary stuff: Learn how to make real fruit roll-ups

MILWAUKEE -- It's a healthy snack you can take with you on the go -- and your kids will never even know that what they're eating is good for them. Master preserver Christina Ward joins Real Milwaukee to teach us how to make fruit leather.

Fruit Leather
Total Preparation Time: 1 hour
Temperature Setting: 140-145 degrees
Dehydration Time: 4-10 hours
How Long Before Use: Immediate
How Long Preserved: 3 months in airtight container, 6 months if frozen

Note: Fruit leathers are a dehydrated fruit puree. Fruit leathers can be a single fruit or blend of fresh fruit. Fruit with small seeds should be sieved or milled to remove seeds.

All fruits (except lemons and grapefruit) make a quality fruit leather. Mix flavors as you`re inspired. No sugar is needed, but if you want to sweeten, add 2 Tablespoons of sugar, honey, or another sweetener per 2 cups of puree.

Step One: Select ripe or slightly overripe fruit. Sort and thoroughly rinse or scrub the fruit under running water. Remove and discard blemished or defective parts. Peel tough-skinned fruits such as winter apples, oranges, peaches, pears, and tomatoes, if desired. Pit and core fruit as needed, removing all hulls and stems. Fruit with small seeds should be run through a conical sieve after cooking.

Step Two: Cut fruit into chunks and place in heavy-bottomed pot. Place enough water in the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching, about 1 inch. Then bring to a boil. Turn down the heat until fruit is at a low simmer. Cover pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft and a thermometer placed in the fruit mixture registers at 160°F.

Step Three: Place cooked fruit in blender or press through a conical sieve to remove small seeds. Add 2 Tablespoons lemon juice per 2 cups of fruit. If desired, add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of sugar, corn syrup, or honey per 2 cups of fruit. A small amount of your preferred spice (¼ teaspoon or dash per 2 cups of puree) may also be added.

Step Four: Place sheets or trays of fruit concentrate in the dehydrator. Set temperature control at 140° to 145°F or follow manufacturer`s directions. Test every hour for dryness, more frequently toward end of drying time.

Step Five: Test for dryness. Properly dried fruit leather will be translucent and slightly tacky to the touch but easily peeled from the tray. Test for dryness by touching the leather in several places; no indentations in the leather should be seen. Lift the edge of the leather, which will adhere tightly to the surface, and peel it back about an inch. If it peels readily, it is properly dried. If the leather cracks or chips, it has dried for too long but is still edible.

Step Six: Storage. After loosening the edge of the leather from the tray, loosely roll the leather in plastic wrap or waxed paper in one piece. Store the roll in one piece or cut into 1-inch strips. Place the strips or rolls of leather in a plastic bag, glass container, paper bag or other container.
If the leather has not dried completely, it may become sticky or develop mold growth during airtight storage.

Store fruit leather in a cool, dry, dark place. It will retain excellent quality for up to 1 year in the freezer, several months in the refrigerator, or 1 to 2 months at room temperature (70°F).