Fruit is an important part of a balanced diet and a good alternative to candy. Dried fruit and fruit leathers concentrate the sweetness of fruit, are easy to store and are great for backpacking. Using your microwave to make fruit leather eliminates lengthy drying time or bulky dehydrators. Mix and match favourite fruits to add excitement to brown-bag lunches or to keep on hand for a quick pick-me-up snack.
Wash, peel and pit the fruit. Good selections for fruit leather are apples, blueberries, bananas, peaches or pears. Blackberries and raspberries can be used, but the seeds can affect the texture of the finished product. High acid fruits like pineapple may affect the consistency of the dried leather.
Purée the fruit. An electric blender works well for this step, but you can use a hand-cranked food grinder instead. The fruit needs to be ground into small particles. The purée should be moist enough to pour easily, but should not be too wet. Commercial applesauce is the correct consistency. Sugar or honey may be added if desired.
Place a layer of cling film on a microwave safe plate. Spread the fruit in a thin layer on the cling film.
Elevate the plate in the microwave by placing it on a saucer that is turned upside down. Microwave at 50 per cent power for five minutes or until the purée is no longer sticky. If it is still a bit sticky in the middle, continue to microwave in 25 second bursts. Watch the mixture closely to make sure it doesn't burn.
Allow the fruit leather to cure at room temperature overnight. Roll up the finished leather in its cling film. It can be stored at room temperature for up to a week.
Bananas and apples make great fruit leather. Add cinnamon or other fruit-friendly spices for more interesting flavours.
If your storage environment is damp, watch finished leathers for mould. Humidity can shorten the storage time.