Summer is winding down and fall is right around the corner. I cannot wait for the pumpkin spice lattes to start flowing in about a week! I don’t know about you, but this is also the time of year that the overabundance of gardens start to show up at work. You know – zucchinis showing up in your car if you leave your window open while running in to the grocery store, tomatoes and cucumbers left in the breakroom, peaches and pears at their peak flavor. Well, if you have an abundance, what can you do with it that doesn’t involve too much work? Fruit leather, my friends!
I was a little sneaky and made Fruit (and veggie) Leather for my kids. They didn’t even know. Not that they would complain – they can only say about 8 words each. 😉
The recipe here is more of a guideline than a strict recipe. You could add any combo of veggies and/or fruit you want! But there are a few key points to remember:
- I ALWAYS bring my mixture to a boil before drying. Better to kill any stray bacteria you can. Die, buggies, DIE!!
- Dry until the leather is no longer sticky to the touch. That means enough water has evaporated, and no water means less of a chance of spoilage.
- Technically, you could store the stuff at room temp, tightly wrapped, for a couple of weeks. I like to store mine in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped.
What can you do with fruit leather other than eat it straight up? Cut it up and put it in your oatmeal, your favorite trail mix, homemade granola, add it to cookies and cakes, etc. Or you could soak it in a little hot water until it dissolves for baby food. Or so all the dehydrating books say…
Super Simple Fruit Leather
- 5 cups fruit/veggie puree – peel fruit like peaches, pears, and apples
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of your fruit/veggie puree)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- Cooking spray
- Place puree, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a low boil, and let boil gently for about 5 minutes.
- Place parchment paper on cookie sheets or extra wide plastic wrap over your food dehydrator tray. Be sure not to block the airflow around the tray with plastic wrap.
- Spray the parchment paper or plastic wrap with cooking spray.
- Ladle the puree onto the prepared trays. It should be about 1/4 inch thick on each tray and should fill about 2 trays.
- Place in a 130°F oven or food dehydrator set at 145°F. WALK AWAY.
- Allow to cook/dry for 8-12 hours, or until no longer sticky.
- Gently lift the parchment paper or plastic wrap off the cookie sheet/tray.
- Cut into strips or shapes with kitchen shears – wrap each piece well with plastic wrap.
- Store in an airtight container at room temp or in the fridge.
I made 3 different combinations this weekend:
- 2 cups pureed cooked carrots and 3 cups pureed peaches
- 1 cup plums, 2 cups nectarines, and 2 cups peaches
- 1 cup blueberries, 4 cups grapes
Some of you know that I have a fairly recent addition to my kitchen. A recent addition that I LOVE so far. You would love it, too. It’s my Vitamix blender. The other blenders are going in the garage sale that will happen in a few weeks.
The Vitamix is AMAZING! It can do anything a regular blender can do, plus make soup. SOUP! It will heat the water and everything. I am definitely going to take advantage in a few weeks when the weather starts cooling down. 🙂
This morning, I had a smoothie and an almond butter waffle sandwich. YUM! Smoothies are great because they are very forgiving. Hope you have fun experimenting with different fruit combinations!
Frozen Fruit Chunks (I got a bag from Costco that has pineapple, papaya, mango and strawberries)
agave nectar or sugar
1. Fill up your cup with fruit chunks– the cup you intend to drink out of. Once the fruit chunks are in there, pour the milk in to the halfway mark, then add water until the cup is 3/4 full of fruit and liquid. Add about a TBSP of agave nectar or sugar. Dump it all into the blender.
2. Give it a whirl until all the fruit is crushed up and it has the proper consistency. Add more liquid if needed– the Vitamix is great because it has a plunger stick that helps all the fruit get down to the blade.
3. Pour into the cup you measured with, stick in a straw, and sip. Now GET TO WORK!! 🙂
Have a happy day!
PS- Please forgive the sideways smoothie pic. The silly computer loaded it sideways and I can’t get blogger to rotate it!
Holy Hot Temps, people! It has been quite warm outside. Nice because my laundry tends to dry quickly, but not so good for walking pups and playing outside. But I have a cure. Something that will make you feel much better. Something to sip with a good friend on the back porch. Or the front porch. Or the sidewalk. However you roll…
SANGRIA!! The official drink of summer. And winter. Well, anytime, really. I like making white sangria in the summer and red sangria in the winter. Both are delicious and refreshing. Here’s how I make white sangria:
1 bottle (750 ml) White Wine (I chose Orange Muscat wine– its already sweet)*
1 nectarine, pitted and chopped
1 plum, pitted and chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 tangerine or orange
sugar, to taste
20 oz. club soda or lemon-lime soda
1. Place the chopped fruit in the bottom of your pitcher.
Isn’t it pretty?? I thought so…
2. Pour in the wine.
3. Juice in the orange or tangerine. Tip: use a paper towel to strain out any seeds.
4. Stir everything together and let it sit overnight at room temperature. In the morning, taste it. Add sugar if it needs it. Because I started with a sweet wine, I didn’t add any sugar. Put the whole thing in the refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours.
5. When ready to drink, stir in cold club soda or lemon lime soda. Serve over ice, if desired. The fruit is good to nibble on if it drops into the glass– but it absorbs a lot of the alcohol so watch out!
*Other wines I like to use: Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Viogner. Just be sure to begin with a wine you like to drink. Remember– if you begin with crap, you’ll just have fruit flavored crap at the end. Wink wink!
My silly camera decided to erase the pics I took of the sangria in the glass. I’ll catch it next time!
Summer is here and you know what that means– Blackberries! I love blackberries in cobblers, dessert sauces and jams, but I’m not a huge fan of eating them raw. Not sure why. When Ty and I lived in Pullman, WA, I used to fill up my lunch bucket on my way home from school. Huge bushes grew wild there. I turned one batch into jam using a bit of grape juice.
This weekend, we got a pack of big juicy blackberries in our Bountiful Basket. I also had some blueberries that needed to get used up, so I made Black and Blue Cobbler this morning for breakfast. Everyone at work loved it! This recipe is super simple and can be made using any combination of fresh or frozen berries. I’m sure stone fruits like plums, nectarines and peaches would work as well.
I based my recipe on one from myrecipes.com, but changed it up a bit. I made my cobbler a bit more healthy by making my own self-rising flour with half whole wheat flour. Hope you enjoy!
Black and Blue Cobbler
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled to room temp.
2-1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries (I used 1 cup blackberries and 1-1/2 cups blueberries)
1/4 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 12″ pan (mine is metal).
2. Whisk together flours, salt, baking powder and sugar. Whisk in milk until just combined. Slowly whisk in the melted butter. Pour evenly into prepared pan. The batter will be loose like pancake batter.
3. Sprinkle fruit over the top of the batter, then sprinkle with sugar.
4. Bake at 350°F for approximately an hour, or until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbly. The batter will rise over the top of the fruit creating a luscious berry layer.
5. Cool about 10 minutes, then serve warm. Enjoy!