Homemade jerky to the rescue
by Kathy Hayes
As the global pandemic keeps many of us home-bound much of the day, we need a versatile snack that every family member will want to grab from the pantry when hunger strikes. Homemade fruit leather (a.k.a. fruit jerky or a fruit roll-up) is a great option. It’s quick, delicious, nutritious, and packed with energy.
A lunch-box staple popularized in the 1980s, fruit leather is made by drying thin layers of pureed fruit in an oven or food dehydrator for several hours to create a sweet, chewy treat similar in texture to beef jerky.
Yes, store-bought fruit leathers are convenient, but they can be expensive and contain added ingredients and extra sugar. Making your own fruit leather is easy and you can customize it, taking into account any food allergies or restricted diet needs. For diabetics, fruit leather without added sugar makes a great snack or dessert.
A single serving of one roll-up has about 28 calories, 7.2 g carbs, 0.3 g protein, 0.8 g fiber, and 6.2 g sugar, making it a healthier option than grabbing a candy bar or other sweets.
What fruits can you use?
Most fruits and combinations can be used to make fruit leather, and you can use fresh, canned, or frozen varieties.
Try: Berries, bananas, oranges, peaches, applesauce
Avoid: Grapefruit and lemons – these get bitter when dried
Prefer savory treats?
Try making veggie jerky using pumpkin or steamed mixed vegetables.
You can jazz up your fruit or veggie leather concoctions by adding some spices or chia seeds.
Check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation for more information: nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry/veg_leathers.html.
- 3 cups strawberries frozen (thawed) or fresh
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 140 to 170 degrees F, or as low as your oven will go (the lower the better). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Add strawberries, honey, and lemon juice to food processor or blender; blend until smooth.
- Spread fruit mixture onto the lined sheet pan to about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Place in the oven for 4-6 hours [or more], until the middle is no longer tacky.
- Cool completely before removing from the sheet pan. Use clean scissors or a pizza cutter to trim off edges and cut into 1-inch wide strips. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. They will last even longer if you add a paper towel to the container to help absorb moisture.
Makes 8 servings
Recipe courtesy of Little Eats & Things, littleeatsandthings.com/3-ingredient-homemade-strawberry-fruit-roll-ups/