I love making homemade applesauce and fruit rollups/leather…better than any you can buy!
I just got a peck of apples – some were really nice, some had imperfections, but that doesn’t bother me at all. What’s important to me is that the fruit is NATURAL w/o sprays. So here’s how I do it.
Wash, core and cut 3-5 pounds fruit into chunks (apples and pears work well). Leave skin on because there is pectin in the peel and that pulls cholesterol out of your body.
Crockpot: Spray pot with a nonstick spray. Put fruit in. If you want, add up to 1 cup of water or apple juice. Cook on low or high until fruit is soft enough to mash – this can take anywhere from 4-8 hrs depending upon apples and amount.
Stovetop: Place in heavy or nonstick large pot. Add up to 1 cup water, cider or apple juice (to keep fruit from sticking), and simmer until fruit is soft. You may have to add a bit more liquid. Be careful here because the mixture tends to sputter up.
In the oven: Spray pan (use one with sides – I use a roasting pan) and put apples in. I cook mine at 325, covered, until they are soft enough to puree.
Tip from Rita’s Kitchen
When I cook fruit in the crockpot or oven, I usually don’t add much liquid – start with 1/2 cup and go from there. If it starts to stick, add more liquid. The less liquid you add when making fruit leathers/rollups, the better off you are as the liquid has to evaporate.
After fruit is cooked:
Mash by hand, run through food mill or sieve, a blender, food processor. If making applesauce, you can leave it chunky or smooth. If making leather, you need to puree it (see how to below). If desired, sweeten to taste with sugar, Stevia or Splenda. Add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to taste. Do this while fruit is still warm. Now you have the best tasting homemade applesauce!
To Make Fruit Rollups/Leather
To turn the applesauce into fruit leather, you need to puree it and dry it to let all the moisture evaporate out, and here’s how you do it:
Drying to make fruit rollups/leather:
In the sun: Cover cookie sheets with foil, dark side facing up so that the fruit absorbs the sun more. Spray and spread mixture on foil, about 1/4” thick. Place outside in the sun and bring in at night or if it rains. It will take 2 days to a week.
Oven: Dry in warm oven. It will take anywhere from 4-8 hours or more depending upon the kind of apples, etc.
How to tell if the fruit leather is done:
It should pull up from the pan in one sheet.
Storing: In refrigerator, up to 6 months, and up to l year in freezer.
Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP, CMH, is a Certified Culinary Professional and Certfied Modern Herbalist, educator, author, founding editor of www.Abouteating.com
a popular website that showcases her many interests in healthy living.