Last Updated on October 26, 2020
Celebrate the flavors of fall with this utterly delicious homemade apple-pear fruit leather recipe! The natural sweetness of the fruit plus a nice dose of cinnamon makes this a delectably healthy treat.
With the seasonal change comes a change in the fruits coming into the kitchen. And while I will miss all those peaches, plums, and berries, the apples and pears are so good in healthy treats like this fruit leather that I can almost bear to say goodbye to the fruits of summer.
So bye-bye homemade fruit leather made from rhubarb — it’s time for a fall fruit leather recipe!
Actually, we make so much rhubarb leather from our rhubarb plants, we still have plenty left by the time fall fruits start rolling in. But it’s lovely to have this sweet cinnamon-y option as well, especially when we’re awash in apples from our fruit trees. We can enjoy these little tastes of summer and fall long after the snow has buried all our plants many times over.
Making the most of these seasonal foods lets us continue eating seasonally during the long winter months when nothing grows here.
WHY MAKE YOUR OWN FRUIT LEATHER?
In my book, the number one reason to make your own fruit leather is controlling the ingredients. If your family likes “fruit snacks,” try reading the ingredient label sometime, and you’ll be shocked by how much chemical garbage is put in many of those little sugar bombs.
Um… and very little fruit!
Even the organic varieties (which at least won’t have all the pesticide residues and added chemical colors) use a ton of juice concentrate, which is really just another form of sugar. I think they’re kind of sickeningly sweet. Plus, since they’re all individually-wrapped, there can be a lot of plastic waste involved.
Making your own fruit leather means you can make healthy treats out of real food with zero waste.
Fruit leather is a great way to use up fruit that’s past its prime or just not quite up to snuff for fresh eating. When you cook, blend, and dehydrate it, you can’t tell. Slightly overripe fruit will actually make your leather sweeter.
WHY THIS FRUIT LEATHER RECIPE WILL BECOME YOUR NEW FALL GO-TO
Apples and cinnamon are a match made in heaven, as I’m sure you know. The ripe pears add an extra depth of flavor and some additional sweetness. This apple-pear fruit leather is so perfectly spiced and sweet, I just couldn’t stop eating it and made sure to pick up lots more pears the next time I saw them on sale.
Another big bonus of this fruit leather recipe is that the fruit itself provides all the sweetness you need, so not only is it free of refined sugar, there’s no added sugar from honey or other sweetener. (Those “count,” by the way, toward the very limited amount of added sugar it’s recommended we have each day. Here’s how much sugar per day is OK.)
If you use a lot of cinnamon daily, you’ll want to choose Ceylon cinnamon, which doesn’t have the health concerns of too much cassia cinnamon. But cassia is more powerfully flavored and somewhat less expensive (here’s a good option), so as long as you’re not using too much too often, it may work better in this recipe, which benefits from a strong-flavored cinnamon.
These delicious morsels of apple-pear goodness
- Contain ZERO added sweetener, nothing but fruit and cinnamon!
- Are chewy and flavorful
- Can be used in place of artificially-flavored, sugar-filled treats
- Keep up to a year in an airtight container
THE BEST WAY TO DEHYDRATE FRUIT LEATHER
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can make this fruit leather recipe in the oven, but a dehydrator makes fruit leather much easier to make, without trying to keep an oven at a low enough temperature. You set the temperature and walk away and return to yummy fruit leather deliciousness.
Plus, in a dehydrator, you can make 8 or 9 trays full at one time, which you will totally want to do when you see how fast your family gobbles this up. And if you don’t want to make that much fruit leather, you can fill the other trays with fruits and veggies in your fridge to make amazing dried bananas ‘candy,’ sweet dehydrated peaches, tasty dried apple chews, or spiced zucchini chips. Or turn that enormous crop of plums or peaches from your fruit trees into sweet and healthy treats to enjoy long after the snow falls.
A dehydrator doesn’t have to cost much, and you can always buy one with a friend or neighbor and share. This small, inexpensive dehydrator would work to get you started, but a larger (and not that much more expensive) one is generally more practical and comes with the very useful fruit screens and leather disks, which you’ll be glad you have for making loads of delicious fruit leather. This is the dehydrator I bought with a friend more than a decade ago, and it’s still going strong. Here’s the one I want when it stops working.
This recipe is just enough for about two discs on the dehydrator or two baking trays if you’re using an oven. I cut each disc into about 12 small servings, about the size of your average fruit leather strip. These will go fast, though, so you might make want to double or triple or quadruple the recipe to have enough to last you awhile!
1. Place diced fruit in a saucepan with a cup of filtered water over low heat and simmer until cooked and soft. Mix the fruit occasionally to help it cook evenly. Allow to cool. 5. Check to see if the leather has dried completely before turning off the dehydrator-- there should be no more mushy spots. Amounts are approximations and will vary according to the size and ripeness of your fruit.
2. Strain fruit, reserving the liquid. It's a delicious rich juice, so enjoy a bonus drink while your fruit leather dehydrates!
3. Put the fruit and cinnamon in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
4. Spread on an oiled dehydrator disc or baking sheet lined with a silpat mat in a thin layer. If using a dehydrator, set the temperature to 135 degrees and allow to dry about 4 hours. If using an oven, set to the lowest temperature possible and check after 2 hours.
6. When the leather has cooled, remove it from the tray. You can roll it up whole or cut it into strips.
Keeps in an airtight container for up to a year.
Serving Size: 1 strip
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 25Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g
1. Place diced fruit in a saucepan with a cup of filtered water over low heat and simmer until cooked and soft. Mix the fruit occasionally to help it cook evenly. Allow to cool.
5. Check to see if the leather has dried completely before turning off the dehydrator-- there should be no more mushy spots.
Amounts are approximations and will vary according to the size and ripeness of your fruit.
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.