This is more of a reminder than a recipe. After all, fruit rolls are some of the easiest and most trouble free of the DIY food projects that we love to make down here. And they are so easy! Just blend and dehydrate! But they merit mention again here, because it is berry season, and because kids love ‘em, and because, preserved this way, without sugar or any other ingredients, they can last and last for months…assuming you can keep them hidden from the kids and hungry grown-ups. Yes, we know, not likely. But in the meantime, enjoy their concentrated, sweet red flavor.
Strawberries, all by themselves, make a delicious dehydrated fruit roll. But why not experiment? After all, the season is just beginning for some of the best fruits and veggies the central coast has to offer. Have a hard time getting your kids to eat zucchini? Blend up half a zucchini into a basket of berries; it’s hard to tell the difference, and the benefit of all that dark green veg will accrue with them none the wiser.
We like to blend the berries with applesauce, as well. For one thing, it's good practice to use up the last of one year's canned goods before another begins. If there's any 10 month old applesauce at the back of the pantry, this is a great use for it. Yogurt, plain or flavored, can also be blended or swirled throughout the fruit.
Whichever fruits and vegetables you are using, wash them well, cutting away the green tops, hard, white pithy areas, and any bruised or discolored fruit.
Blend in the blender, or run them through a food strainer with a fine screen.
Spread the puree(s) out onto a non-stick sheet, and smooth out the texture with a spoon. The ideal thickness is about 1/8" thick, but the edges will dry faster than the center, and the fruit can be built up to be closer to 1/4" thick at the edges.
Dehydrate at 135°F until dry to the touch. Peel the roll off the sheet and flip it over; dry the other side for just 3-4 hours more.
If using an oven, set the temperature to 120-135°F and proceed as above, rotating the sheets every few hours for even drying.
To store, peel the fruit rolls from the silicon sheets. Slice into age-appropriate serving sizes, and roll them in parchment paper, secured with a string. Store the fruit rolls in an air-tight jar, where they will keep for 6 months-- if you hide them well enough.
We may have gotten a little carried away with the fruit-roll artistry. . . but why not make it fun? We like to play with our food!
Here, we started with a base of blended strawberries, and drizzled just a 1/4 cup of blended blueberries over the top in a loose spiral, using a silicon spoon in a circular motion to smooth the blueberry layer flat on top of the strawberry layer. Next, working from the center, we dragged the spatula over the surface of the fruit roll out towards the edge, tracing a kind of asterisk over the blended fruit. Voila!
This blend was created to get a fussy eater to eat something besides strawberries. If the green color is off putting to kids, the squash can be blended up with the berries; it will all turn red. We used the same method as with the Blueberry Roll above, drizzling the green zucchini in a spiral over the red berry mixture, then pulling the spoon through the mixture to spread and blend the flavors together.
You don't have to get this fancy. If fancy is even the word. Silly might be a better one ...but even the most ordinary fruit rolls have a little bit of whimsy to them. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Eat it for desert!
It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.