Would you like to learn how to make homemade fruit leather? It’s easier than you think!
When I was coming up with my own fruit leather recipe, I kept in mind parents trying to package their child’s lunch with healthy snacks and concerned about food allergies and less than healthy ingredients.
So, I’d thought I’d help out by creating a easy sugar free fruit made with my favourite clementine oranges.
I also wanted to create a simple homemade fruit leather recipe, so that kids and parents (or a grandparent or babysitter) could make these together as a fun cooking activity.
I hope you have as much fun making (and eating) the fruit as I did.
This simple Orange Fruit Leather recipe also makes a excellent homemade gift for teachers, friends or relatives, too!
When you understand how to make fruit leather, you know what is exactly what’s in it! This homemade fruit leather is basically citrus, spices, and a natural sweetener.
My Orange Fruit Leather recipe has been affected by some Indian candies brought home one day. I could taste that there was orange and ginger in it, but I could not figure what was the other spice.
I was going through my spice cabinet one day when I discovered it — cardamom! I knew that the combination with a little bit of lemon could be a excellent addition to this recipe for homemade fruit leather.
I sweetened the orange fruit leather with Monk Fruit In The Raw Sweetener, which is a natural, no calorie sweetener. I love cooking with monk fruit sweetener since it functions just as well as sugar and leaves no bitter aftertaste.
Even though clementine oranges are naturally sweet, I knew that adding the lemon, cardamom and ginger could make the orange fruit leather a bit bitter. But if you do not need to use the powdered monk fruit, then you can use honey or another sweetener.
Do you require a fruit leather dehydrator?
I’m positive you’re thinking that you’ll need a fruit leather dehydrator to make fruit leather recipes. However, I believe using a dehydrator is easier for two reasons:
1) a fruit leather dehydrator uses less energy and 2) the fruit leather recipe takes 6 to 8 hours and you might require the oven for something else like making dinner!
A basic dehydrator costs around $40-70 and as soon as you have one, you’ll find uses for it, believe me.
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However, with a little planning — like those nights you are using your Instant Pot or slow cooker — using your oven is fine for orange fruit recipes.
Additionally, I found that if you go the oven route, having silicone baking sheets for your baking pans is crucial! I feel that fruit leather could stick to parchment paper or wax paper.
The trick to making the sugar free orange fruit recipe is figuring out how long to cook it. If you’re baking it in your oven, it is dependent on how low you can set it.
However, my fruit leather dehydrator goes lower (165 to 115 degrees F). As it has a fan, the fruit leather is dehydrated in a much smaller enclosed space.
So my advice is to check your hydrated fruit leather at the five hour mark. If the top is tacky, come back in an hour. If it is not sticky, see if you can peel it off all of the way.
If the center of the orange fruit leather is still sticking to the mat/tray, place it back in the oven/dehydrator and check back in 30 minutes.
Timing will depend on so many variables such as the moisture of the clementine oranges, the weather and humidity in your home, how well your equipment is working, etc.. So I can’t give you hard and fast rules for times.
However, if you do overcook your own fruit leather, it is still edible so don’t throw it out!
I sprinkled and dipped them in yogurt — so delicious! I may”accidentally” make orange fruit leather chips again!
Making fruit leather rolls
If you wish to get fancy, you can make fruit leather rolls.
But if you’re using a fruit leather hydrator, the round trays make it hard to cut the orange fruit into fruit leather rolls.
Therefore, while the orange fruit is still warm, place it onto a sheet of parchment paper. Then roll up the fruit tightly.
Then using clean kitchen shears, cut the roll into four pieces. Tie each one with kitchen string.
The orange fruit leather rolls won’t be ideal. Instead, they’ll look like old fashioned”foot roll up candies” which are just right for placing in lunch boxes.
Store homemade fruit in baggies or airtight containers.
Orange Fruit Leather
- If using oven, set it to lowest setting (probably 170 degrees F).
- Place all ingredients in a top performance blender or food processor. Blend on high until fruit is frothy, about 20-30 minutes.
- Pour liquid into a medium saucepan. Make sure to scrape down sides of blender or food processor bowl with a spatula to get everything to the saucepan! Keep liquid skillet over medium heat. Stir often with a whisk. Cook for 10 minutes until liquid has thickened into a puree. Bake for 8 hours or so until the puree is no longer sticky and you can peel it off the trays without it sticking. When it is still warm, peel it off and wrap the fruit in parchment paper, if desired.
- If using oven, place silicon baking mat on a 11 x 17 skillet. Pour orange puree on silicon baking mat and spread evenly using an offset icing spatula. Leave a half inch of room around all sides. Bake for 2 hours or so until the puree is no longer tacky and you can peel it off the silicon mat with no sticking. When it’s still warm, peel it off and wrap the fruit in parchment paper, if desired.
- Serving size: Varies
Originally published February 2016. Updated with new images and information.