According to the Mythbusters, even in 100+ degree weather, you can’t fry an egg on the sidewalk. Rats! On the other hand, with outside temperatures reaching into the triple digits where we live, this week, it is the perfect weather for cooking up one of our family favorite treats – fruit leather. So, armed with a boat-load of plums from a neighbor, I’ll be making several trays of it in the next few days, and here’s how I make it…
First, I wash, pit, and cut the plums into quarters. Then, I puree them in a blender. A blender filled to the top with the chopped plums, yields about three cups after pureeing them. I usually divide this between two cookie sheets. The thicker the layer, the longer it takes to completely dehydrate.
These plums are fairly tart, so I need to add some sugar. (It took approximately 3/4 cup to make it sweet enough for my liking.)
Next, I line a baking sheet with plastic wrap, lightly coat it with vegetable oil, and pour the sweetened plum puree out onto the trays, Making sure to spread it out evenly all around.
Like I said, we’re going to see some sizzling temperatures, this week, so I’m putting the trays out into the sun to dry. (An oven set at 150 degrees and left with the door slightly open will accomplish the same thing). A piece of window screen is laid over the top and pinned down with binder clips to keep flies and other bugs off of the leather while its drying.
To keep ants away, without using chemicals, I put down a line of baking soda all around the tray — ants don’t like it and won’t cross the line.
I leave the trays out in the sun until the fruit is fully dehydrated — this takes anywhere from 8 – 15 hours, usually. (I didn’t get these started early enough in the day, so I just brought them in for safe-keeping overnight and set them back out to finish drying the following day.)
Once they’re completely dehydrated, I bring them in, remove the screen, peel them off of the plastic, cut them into inch-wide strips, and they’re ready to enjoy! They usually all get devoured on the spot, but if I have any leftovers, I simply wrap them, individually, in plastic wrap and store them in a cool place.
Making fruit leather may not be as much fun as frying an egg on the sidewalk, but it’s definitely a great way to preserve the bounties of summer, save energy, money, and provide tasty, healthy treats for my family – and what could be better than that?