Summer’s here! The exclamation mark belies the utter tiredness one feels from the hot and humid weather we are all feeling at the moment. Ah, but Summer still brings so much joy with it! Gorgeous mountain hikes, swimming in icy cold, high mountain river streams and chilled white wine in beautiful city parks at dusk.
Every Summer my memory takes me back to my childhood, my mother’s lush, jungle-like garden which held me captive in its beauty throughout my life, the milk ice lollies she would make which we sucked in the shade of a tree with the family dog panting next to me, the endless games we played, getting blackjacks all over our clothes, mulberry stains on our shorts and grazed knees and elbows from digging around in the valley behind our house. One of my favourite things was dried fruit leather, sour tangy, sweet and delicious!
When I found some amazing recipes for raw fruit leathers online, I knew I had to make them. And, considering what gorgeous fruit we get in Taiwan, I knew they would be gorgeously delicious!
These leathers have no additives or preservatives in them.
For any berries, I use only organic varieties.
The raspberry, basil-infused leather has a delightful similarity to sour worms 😀 Your kids will never know that they are sucking on nothing but pure fruit!
These leathers can be stored for up to one year in a cool, dark space. If left in the sun, they could discolour.
I think the combination of fruits with locally-familiar and widely used ingredients in food and medicine, like goji, sesame and chili (not medicine but food) marry well.
Right now, peaches in Taiwan are plentiful, affordable and sun-burstingly delicious! This was my favourite one to make since working with dried flowers in food is just so…special!
Peach Lavender fruit leather has such a beautiful perfume, so strong and beautiful. With lavender, a little goes a long way.
To make fruit leather, but ripe or overripe fruits, wash well, peel and chop then blend on high speed until you get a smooth, runny texture.
Next, you may need to strain the liquid excess out. You can do this July pouring the blended fruit into a chinois and leaving it there for 30 minutes or you can line a sieve with cheesecloth, pour the liquid in and let it strain into a bowl.
After straining, spread the remaining thicker paste into a baking sheet or reflex sheet and dry in the dehydrator for a few hours at 45 degrees celcius. You will need to flip it over and dry the other side. Considering how hot this year’s summer is, if you have a rooftop or balcony, experiment with ways to naturally dry in the sun. I’m sure your leather will absorb all that Vitamin D, too.
Once dried, slice into any shape you like and store in a airtight container.