HOMEMADE FRUIT LEATHER

Now that spring is finally here, it’s time to savor the fruits of the season. I love fresh fruits and veggies, but sometimes it’s fun to think of new ways to serve them other than salads or side dishes.

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I loved this Homemade Fruit Leather Challenge using my new KitchenAid® Torrent™ Magnetic Drive Blender, which is a powerhouse beauty machine that makes pureeing and blending fruits and veggies a snap. It has 4 pre-set Adapti-Blend recipe programs which are customized and perfectly timed to easily make Icy Drinks/Smoothies, Milkshakes, Soups/Sauces and Juices. You can also use manual speed controls for chopping and blending to make dips, pesto, grated hard cheese, mousse and more.

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What made the challenge even more fun was all the gorgeous fruits, herbs and vegetables I received from Melissa’s Produce. They sent me big juicy strawberries and blackberries, fresh thyme, and jalapeños, the perfect ingredients to make some cool, unique flavors for my Homemade Fruit Leather.

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To start, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. To make the strawberry jalapeño lime fruit leather, place all of the fresh chopped ingredients into the Torrent™ Blender, cover with the lid and secure it into place in the blender. Puree the fruit on the juice setting.

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Carefully pour the fruit puree onto a large baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicone mat. Uniformly spread the puree with a large spoon or spatula to ensure it cooks evenly.

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Rinse out the blender pitcher and add the ingredients for the blackberry vanilla thyme fruit leather. Again, process ingredients in the blender per above on the juice setting, until all the fruit is pureed well.

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Pour the fruit puree onto a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet and spread evenly with a spoon or spatula. Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 3 to 4 hours until the fruit leather is no longer wet or sticky. You may want to switch racks half way through cooking to make sure both sheets cook evenly. Remove the parchment and/or silicone mats from the baking sheets and let cool on a wire rack for a couple of hours until the fruit leather softens and dries, and is pliable without breaking or tearing. If the leather is still a bit wet underneath, flip it over and let it dry more.

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Peel the fruit leather rectangles off the parchment paper/silicone mat and transfer to a cutting board (separately). Cut into long strips with a pizza cutter, sharp knife or kitchen shears (about 6 strips per rectangle).

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Roll and serve immediately. To store, wrap the leather strips with plastic wrap, roll and keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

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Blackberry Vanilla Thyme and Strawberry Jalapeño Lime Fruit Leather

Makes 2 large trays of fruit leather (1 tray per flavor, approximately 6 strips each)

INGREDIENTS

For blackberry vanilla thyme

3 cups blackberries
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or seeds from 2 vanilla pods)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (about 4-6 pieces)

For strawberry jalapeño lime

3 cups strawberries, sliced into large chunks
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 jalapeño, seeded and stem removed, sliced
Juice and zest from 1/2 fresh lime

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside.

Pour the ingredients (berries, herbs, sweeteners, fruit, etc.) for each flavor separately into the pitcher of the KitchenAid® Torrent™ Blender and blend on the juice setting.

Pour the fruit puree over the parchment or silicone lined baking sheets and evenly spread with the back of a spoon or spatula into a large rectangle. Ensure the fruit puree doesn’t have too thick or too thin areas or it will not cook evenly and will crack.

Bake for 3 to 4 hours until the fruit leather feels dry and is no longer wet or sticky. (You may want to switch racks half way through cooking to make sure both sheets cook evenly.) Remove the parchment and/or silicone mats from baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for a couple of hours until the leather softens and dries, and is pliable without breaking. If the leather is still a bit wet underneath, flip over and let it dry more.

Peel the fruit leathers off the parchment paper/silicone mats and transfer each to a cutting board. Cut with a pizza cutter, sharp knife or kitchen shears into thin long strips (about 6 strips per rectangle).

Roll and serve immediately. To store, wrap the leather strips with plastic wrap or parchment/wax paper, roll and keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to a few weeks.

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Blog: United We Create is all about possibilities, passion, prowess, inspiration and a shared love for all things food. Explore recipes, take on challenges, find tips, learn about events and so much more. Because when you have the culinary world at your fingertips, there's so much more to make.

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