Fruit Nut Leather
As promised this where I will show you my nifty way of using up the nut pulp from making nut milk. A dehydrator works best to make fruit leather (however you can use an oven at a very low temp – directions below). I got my dehydrator off Trademe for $20 so keep an eye out if you are looking for a bargain. You can use any combination of fruit here. The key is to prepare the fruit with no water so the puree is as thick as possible. Here is how I did it…
I prepared half a dozen apples using the apple twirler (of-course you can do this by hand also) and raided the last omega plums from our tree. Halved and stones removed. I put the fruit into a saucepan, put the lid on and placed the pan over a very low heat – you want the lowest heat you have on your stove top [if you have one of those stoves that won’t go super low, add a splash of water – but just a splash]. Slowly the fruit sweat and release juices to steam and cook the fruit without any added water. Then I pureed the fruit with a stick blender (or use a mouli) until smooth.
This is where the nut pulp from last week comes in. Mix the pulp (or 1 cup ground nuts/ desiccated coconut) with the pureed fruit. Lightly oil (using olive oil) the ‘fruit leather’ trays and spread the mixture about 4mm thick (it will shrink as it dries). Do take time here to get an even spread so the leather has a uniform texture once dried. I find holding the trays up to the light of a window shows me where I have spread it too thin.
Dehydrate for 10 – 12 hours on the ‘fruit leather’ setting. Once the leather easily comes away from the trays it is ready. Use scissors to cut into strips and store in a jar or container. This is a perfect addition to my children’s snack/ lunch boxes. The ground nuts add protein to balance out the otherwise concentrated sugars of the dehydrated fruit. Better for their teeth (dried fruit is the worst food for cavities) and more nutritious.
*If you don’t have a dehydrator on hand you can use the oven – although I do find this not quite as reliable for even drying. Turn the oven on to the lowest temperature possible – this will likely be around 50C but if you can get it lower around 35-40C this would be ideal. Line two oven trays with baking paper and lightly oil as above. Spread the puree onto baking paper as thin and evenly as possible – 2 – 3mm. Place the trays in the middle of the oven and leave to dehydrate overnight or all day – around 8 – 12 hours. Rotate the trays several times. The time will vary depending on the temperature used, the leather is ready when it feels dry all over and you can start to lift it away from the baking paper.
March has taken it out of me. Most evenings and weekends I have spent preserving our harvest. And to add to that I am a sucker for a bargain, regularly coming home from the farmers market laden with another bag of fruit or sauce tomatoes. I just can’t help myself. At least we will eat well this winter as the pantry is full with jars of all sorts, from omega plums to chilli jam, and my favourite roast summer vegetable sauce.
It was the wild apple tree that really got me going though. We have this lovely meadow near our house that is like a mini garden of Eden – walnut trees, apple trees, feijoas, chestnuts. A few weeks ago – you remember that weekend it bucket-ed down, the first proper rain in months (in New Zealand anyway) – I dragged the family out to forage for some wild apples as I needed some for my ‘part two’ of last weeks ‘part one‘. We will get to that… First here is a video of what we did with the extra apples.
What do you think of that gadget? It cores, peels and slices an apple all in one go! It was just begging me to video it so I could share it here. I am not sure what the gadgets official name is, I just call it our apple twirler. I use it a lot this time of year to prepare apples for making apple puree for preserving/ freezing for winter breakfasts.