The supermarket shelves are filled to the brim with “fruit” based snacks marketed towards children. The majority of those fruit snacks contain little fruit and can hardly be considered food. I’m thankful that my children have never been taken in by their fluorescent colors and neon hues. I have on occasion purchased all natural fruit strips. I have to admit that they are a tasty and convenient snack, but I have always found the price rather steep. This got me thinking: I wonder if I can make fruit strips myself? How hard could it be?
Well, turns out, not hard at all. Actually, the process is incredibly simple. All you need is time…and a handful of ingredients.
Begin by preheating your oven to 175 degrees. Line a 9″ x 13″ baking sheet with Silpat (if you have) or parchment paper (which is what I used). Set aside.
Place one cup of frozen blueberries, along with 1 teaspoon of water into a saucepan. Over low heat, cook the blueberries for 5-7 minutes or until they have broken down. Place the blueberries along with 2 cups of all natural, unsweetened applesauce, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon into a blender. Puree the mixture for 30 seconds until very smooth.
Spread the puree into the prepared baking dish. Be sure to create an even surface.
Pop the pan into the oven and forget about it for the next 4 hours. That’s it…seriously. In reality, there is no cooking going on here. The low oven temperature is simply removing the water from the puree creating that chewy, fruit leather we are looking for.
Remove the sheet from the oven and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. The puree should be dry to the touch but not hard, crispy, or brittle. It should be soft and pliable, yet still able to hold together.
Using a pizza wheel, slice off 1/4″ from all the edges. Next, slice into long, one inch wide strips.
To store, cut pieces of wax or parchment paper into strips slightly wider and longer than the fruit strips. Place the fruit strip on top of the paper and roll, being sure to keep the fruit strip on the inside. Store in a resealable bag.
Is this a culinary masterpiece? No. But it is wholesome and fun to make. This is simple enough for even the littlest hands to help with. I love that this won’t break the bank either. You’ll find that this “recipe” is quite versatile. The flavor combinations are endless. Substitute your favorite fruit in lieu of blueberries. Maybe work on sneaking in some mild greens or vegetables into the mix.
I will forewarn you that these fruit strips are naturally sweet meaning that the sweetness is subtle, just like whole fruit.