How to Make Fruit Leathers (+ 3 variations!)

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Want to incorporate more fruits (and veggies) into your active lifestyle? Learn how to make your own fruit leathers! Fresh Off the Grid contributors Kira & Brendon Hak of Adventure Haks show us how to make these healthy lightweight snacks at home.

Learn how to make fruit leathers in a dehydrator

I used to feel really guilty at our lack of fruit whenever we packed our meals for a motorcycle tour or a multi-day backpacking trip. Fruit is heavy, takes up a lot of space and doesn’t last very long, so it rarely makes the cut. But then fruit leathers came along and we started feeling a lot better about what we were packing, and eating!

Fruit leathers are delicious and easy! You can take any fruit you have laying around, puree and sweeten (or not) and dehydrate it into a nutritious, chewy, and high-energy snack.

Ingredients for DIY Fruit Leathers


You will want to pick fruit that is ripe or even slightly overripe. To sweeten, we like to use either honey or pitted dates. Sometimes, if the fruit chosen isn’t tart, we even skip the sweetener altogether. The amount of sweetener is personal preference so be sure to adjust it to your liking.

To fill all four of our dehydrator trays we need about 6-8 cups of pureed fruit; depending on your dehydrator this could vary. Line the trays with parchment paper, as sometimes the puree can leak through. We start with the wrap and remove it after a few hours when it has started to dry.

How to make fruit leathers in a dehydrator - a perfect on-the-go hiking snack


I’ve shared three of our favourites but the flavour combinations are endless. We tend to choose flavours based on what is on sale or by what we have around the kitchen that needs to be used up. Fortunately, we live in a region of Canada called the Okanagan, which is a fruit orchard heaven. The recipes we have included are what we need to fill only two trays in our dehydrator. We like to do two kinds at a time and vacuum seal variety packs for the trail.

Using the recipes we have given as a guide, try these other flavours: Apricot (apricots & sweetener), Strawberry Lemonade (strawberries, lemons, honey), Apple Cinnamon (apples, honey, cinnamon), PB and Jam (strawberries and 1 cup PB)

 Have fun with it, you really can’t go wrong!

How to Make Fruit Leather in a dehydrator

GEAR SPOTLIGHT: Choosing a Dehydrator

From making fruit leathers and jerky, drying fresh fruits and vegetables for longer term storage, or even creating dehydrated just-add-boiling-water for backpacking trips or emergencies, there are dozens of ways to use a dehydrator.

As with most kitchen appliances, there are a number of options to choose from. There are two that we see over and over again. If you’re budget conscious (🙋) the Nesco Snackmaster Pro is probably your best bet. If you will be doing a lot of dehydrating, you’ll likely be able to recoup the cost of one of the Excalibur model dehydrators, which has long held the position of best-of-the-best in the dehydrating community.

Learn how to make fruit leathers in a dehydrator

DIY Fruit Leathers

Recipe by Fresh Off the Grid Community
Using this basic technique, you can make any number of flavor combinations! Here we share our three favorite fruit leather flavors to get you started.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
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Ingredients

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB

  • 2 cups rhubarb, diced & cooked*
  • 3 cups strawberries, diced
  • 1/4 cup honey

BLUEBERRY CHIA BANANA

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 small ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 5-10 dates, pitted

RASPBERRY PEACH


  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 3 peaches, pitted & diced
  • 1/4 cup honey

Instructions

  • Wash, peel and remove any stems or pits, if needed. The skin of the fruit is highly nutritious so we always use the peel as well (exception: bananas, pineapples, oranges, etc).
  • Put all the produce into a blender or food processor, with your sweetener of choice, and blend until smooth.* If making the Strawberry Rhubarb variation: The rhubarb needs to be softened so after dicing put into a pot with just enough water to cover them and cook on medium until soft, we pour everything from the pot, water and all, into the processor so we don’t lose the nutrients
  • Optional Step: We have found if your preheat the mixture in a pot before putting it in the dehydrator it speeds up the drying time. Just dump the blended mixture into a pot and heat on medium for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Line trays with parchment paper. Spread onto dehydrated trays. Since the sides dry quicker, make the puree thicker around the edges - approx 1/4” inch and 1/8” at the center.
  • Dry at 145F/63C for 6-8 hours. Another way to speed up drying time is to check after a few hours and remove the wrap/paper. When the leathers are dried, they will be a little bit shiny and non-sticky to the touch. Allow them to cool before removing them from the trays.
  • Roll the leather into a tight roll and with a sharp knife, cut into a lengths of your choice. Wrap pieces with saran wrap, put in air-tight containers (like ziplock bags) or vacuum seal. Store in a cool, dark & dry place.
*Nutrition info is an estimate based on information provided by myfitnesspal.com

About The Author

Meet Brendon & Kira – The Adventure Haks. We are avid outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy any activity that will take us outside. Most of our time is spent motorcycle touring, where we can combine the freedom to explore new places with our love for hiking, fishing, and camping. We are currently living & adventuring in British Columbia, Canada.

Follow along @adventurehaks and at adventurehaks.com
  • Zsombor Lacza says:

    Great post, I’ll try them. I usually take dried fruit anywhere but never tried drying at home. OK, I tried it when I was a kid with mediocre success but these leathers look far more sophisticated.5 stars

    • They are really easy to do! We hope you get a chance. Let us know how it turns out. 🙂

  • Christine says:

    I love the idea of pb in a fruit leather! Will have to try for our upcoming camping trip.
    Have you tried dehydrating on a silpat? I avoid using plastic wrap whenever possible. The silicon mats aren’t recyclable, sadly, but at least are reusable.

    • We haven’t tried those, but we will now! we are always up for anything that is better for the environment!

  • Great note. Many thanks.
    Quick question: Once they are packed, for how long can they be in the ziplock bag before they go bad?
    I’m planning for consuming them 3 or 4 days after prepared. Would the leathers still be good by then?
    Cheers5 stars

    • You are golden! We have done up to a week in a ziplock – they are usually gone after that ;). We have tested them up to 4 months so far (vacuumed sealed) with no issues.

  • Thank you for the recipes. Years ago, when I was young, I had a very low price dehydrator, but it worked good. Unfortunately, I lost it through the years, and reading your recipes has given me the incentive to buy another one. I need to eat healthier, and this is a perfect way. Thanks again.

    • We are happy to hear we inspired you to get dehydrating again. We have had a lot of fun playing around with different recipes. We have a few other recipes on here so be sure to check them out if you need some ideas. Good luck 🙂

  • Rebecca Grasham says:

    Looks like you have a 5 tray exvalibur do you love it?..im in the midst of a purchase cant make up my mind on model. Any advice would be great excalibur does not have a ton of great reviews and im curious about the new digital control

    Thanks

    • We have the 4 tray, and we love it. However, we have no experience with any other brands. As of right now, the only thing we would have done differently was get the 10 tray, so we could do more at once 😉

  • Chia in fruit leather, amazing!! Would chia be ok with just berries?5 stars

    • Yup, that works great! Be sure to use really ripe berries or add a sweetener, you might just find them to be a little tart if you don’t.

  • Thank you for your great recipes. I have a strawberry batch in the dehydrator right now, and it smells delicious! I’ve owned my Excalibur dehydrator for many years, and still love using it to process fruit, veggies, and herbs. Have you ever added veggies with fruit for a leather? I’m wondering about zucchini in with berries or plums? Thanks again, your recipes are the best!5 stars

    • Thanks! We haven’t tried veggie/fruit blends yet, but I’m sure with the right flavor pairing they’d be delicious.

  • Stephanie says:

    Using wax paper ruined about 15 pounds of my hard earned, self grown, organic peaches and apricots. I was skeptical about using it but I assumed you knew what you were saying. I’m guessing you meant parchment paper. You might want to correct that in your instructions.

    • We are so sorry about this. Yes, parchment paper is what should have been written, not wax paper. It has since been updated. We know how awful it can be to lose good produce. We’re sorry to have led you astray.

  • I built a solar dehydrator

    Trying blackberry dig as I type.

  • I used white grapes I grew. I pureed them and strained the seeds and skins out and did not put anything else in the mixture and started drying in the dehydrator as directed. The puree was great and so sweet. It took many days of drying (4) to become usable enough to slice and roll up. MY problem is they are still sticky. Could I roll them in something like powder sugar to help with the stickiness? Cornstarch? I don’t want to use sugar.

    • We have never tried grapes before. We’ll have to give that a try sometime. As for the stickiness, it could be a factor of how much natural sugar the grapes contain. If that’s the case, then you probably don’t want to add MORE sugar to the mix. Perhaps they could be dehydrated even longer to get them to be less sticky. That or roll them in parchment paper, so they don’t stick to themselves.

  • If you do apple fruit leather do you cook the apples first? Or just puree add leman and sugar and dehydrate?

    • You can do it either way (cooked or uncooked), but for something like apples, we’d suggest cooking them with some water, sugar, lemon juice, and spices. Drain them and proceed to puree. This will break the fibers down, kill off any bacteria, and really up the flavor.

  • Is it possible to freeze them so they can be stored longer? I’m hoping to put my dehydrator in overdrive to prepare for a 2 week canoe trip and want to get a few different things ready

    • You can freeze them (although it may affect the texture after awhile). If it’s only going to be for a week or two, we’d suggest refrigerating them.

  • I’m so pleased to have found your recipes. Thank you! I am also from BC so it blessed me to be able to use recipes and ideas from home5 stars

  • Tom Hutchinson says:

    Hi Kira,
    I was heavy into dyhydrating fruit over 30 yearas ago but wore out the old unit. After a 25 year hiatus I’m at it agin with a Samson 9 tray unit. Very pleased with its performamance. For the past couple months I’ve kept it laoded with a variety of vegetables and fruits. I’m now ready to try fruit leaters. There seems to be an abundance of fresh cranberries in the stores now. One site suggested pitted dates as a sweetner. How does a leather made from cranberries sweetened with dates sound. Any suuggestions appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Tom Hutchinson

  • These fruit leathers look absolutely delicious! I want to buy a dehydrator just for those and jerky!

  • Hello,
    your fruit leather sounds so yummy. im off to pick strawberries tomorow morning and will be trying your receipe in my dehydrator in the afternoon.

    How long can you store these with or without using honey/dates??

    Thank you.

    • Depending on the temperature, you can properly store this on the counter for a few days. After that, we’d suggest putting them in the refrigerator just to be safe.

  • Another tip for dehydrators is purchasing silicone baking sheets meant for swiss cake rolls. They are shallow and pretty easy to find in sizes for most rectangular dehydrators.

    Fruit leather is a big part of my diet whenever I have the motivation to be healthy. They are easy to grab, have a great shelf-life, and make an amazing candy replacement! I do my best to make them versatile and slip in veggies whenever possible. I’ve also tried adding a little unflavored pea protein or greek yogurt to varying levels of success.

    Fruit/Veggie combos I’ve found to be successful:

    1. Green Leather:
    -Granny Smith Apples (cored, not peeled & cook until soft)
    -Kiwis (remove ends, keep fuzzy peels for fiber/nutrients)
    -Banana (strong flavor)
    -Spinach
    (adding grapes and baby kale and skipping the banana next time)

    2. Red Leather:
    -Mixed Berries (I go overboard, grind all seeds separately, and mix them back in for a smooth texture)
    -Cherries
    -Sweet Cherry Tomatoes
    (tried adding a little bit of beets one time…not recommended 😝)

    3. Yellow Leather:
    -Mango
    -Pineapple
    -Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash (quickly pre-cook potato/squash in microwave)

    *Ratios can be tricky, so do small batches and make sure the puree tastes great before drying*

    • Thanks for all the flavor suggestions! Those all sound super yummy! And spot on with the silicone baking mat idea.

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