Homemade fruit leather is not only simple to make, it’s so much healthier and cheaper than store bought! This homemade fruit leather recipe is extra-special because it uses rhubarb, which is actually a vegetable. How often do you get to count a treat toward your veggies for the day?
Why Make Homemade Fruit Leather?
This rhubarb leather has got to be one of my biggest wins as a mom trying to feed her kiddos the healthiest food in a world stacked against them.
I mean, in addition to all the candy holidays (Halloween just being the worst of them), their own school gives them junky fruit chews and their idea of a “healthy snack” contains more sugar than a grown-up should have in a day. (Here’s how much sugar per day is OK. Most of us WAY overshoot.)
Makes me crazy how everyone seems to want to feed them chemicals and sugar!
But rhubarb leather, on the other hand, gives them a delicious treat with a side of veggies! That I can get on board with.
Making your own homemade fruit leather lets you control the ingredients and skip the artificial flavor and colors. And no plastic packaging! Another win for zero waste.
You can also keep the added sugar to a minimum. Store-bought fruit leathers are way over-sweetened, IMO. You could make this homemade fruit leather with only two ingredients, rhubarb and some stevia, for a sugar-free version.
You could also try sweetening only with all-fruit jam, but that will start to cost you a pretty penny, and the fruit used in jam is so concentrated, it’s essentially the same as adding sugar.
You can skip the jam altogether and try coconut sugar or honey for a refined-sugar free treat that will still be far less sweet than anything you can buy.
Now let’s talk about the star of the show, rhubarb.
Rhubarb’s a pretty niche vegetable, but I have to tell you, it’s what shines in this homemade fruit leather. The tart-sweet blend is just perfect.
I have been a devoted fan of rhubarb ever since I got my first taste of rhubarb leather over a decade ago. I am so grateful the dehydrating maven Mary Bell got me hooked on this (reasonably) healthy treat, as I now can make huge quantities of a homemade fruit leather MADE FROM A VEGETABLE to satisfy the sweet teeth in our house.
Homemade fruit leather with rhubarb was also the entry point for me to become a raving fan of dehydrating, one of the simplest food preservation methods even someone with limited time and bandwidth can manage. (Find the minimal amount of information you need to get started dehydrating in my post on dehydrating food for novices.)
I got my first rhubarb plant as a free division from another gardener who answered my ISO on Freecycle, and I’ve divided them repeatedly, so I have seven wonderful plants growing in our 1/10 acre edible landscape.
–>Here’s how to get free plants, including your very own rhubarb if you want to save big on the next additions to your garden.
Rhubarb is incredibly easy to grow. Once planted it’s a hardy perennial that will come back year after year with almost no work on your part. And it’s gorgeous in the landscape or as a border for your veggie patch. Here’s how to grow rhubarb so you can make piles of delicious rhubarb leather!
We love this homemade fruit leather so much, we just keep multiplying the plants in our small garden, and we could probably use more. Especially because we also like to make plenty of crisps from the stalks we have left after we’ve made leather. Here’s a nearly failproof rhubarb crisp recipe you really need to try as well!
–>Need some other ideas for using bountiful rhubarb? Check out these other fabulous rhubarb recipes!
Every spring, we wait impatiently for the stalks to size up, then head out with bags to fill with rhubarb stalks. I cook as many as will fit in our largest stock pot, whir it all up with a little jam, and pour it on the dehydrator.
Eight or so hours later, presto! Our sauce has turned into gorgeous tart-sweet homemade fruit leather. The kids actually prefer it to the supersweet “fruit” leathers you can buy in the store. (Read the ingredients on the package — most don’t actually contain much fruit!)
Save money, healthier food, less waste? What’s not to love about homemade fruit leather?
Try out this easy homemade fruit leather recipe for yourself and you too may start scouting out more places to grow rhubarb! Let me know what you think!
Kept in an airtight container, this homemade fruit leather stays delicious for a year, if it lasts that long. (Trust me, it won't!) I like to keep this sauce pretty tart because the sugars concentrate when it dries, but the sauce is still pretty yummy plain. You can experiment with how much sugar you like and whir in some other fruits if you want.
Serving Size: 1/4 disc leather
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 19 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 3mg Carbohydrates: 4g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Protein: 1g
Kept in an airtight container, this homemade fruit leather stays delicious for a year, if it lasts that long. (Trust me, it won't!)
I like to keep this sauce pretty tart because the sugars concentrate when it dries, but the sauce is still pretty yummy plain. You can experiment with how much sugar you like and whir in some other fruits if you want.
Have you made homemade fruit leather before? What are your favorites? Share in the comments!
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Photo credits: star5122, ulleo