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How To Dry Puree and Fruit Leather

  • Line a cookie sheet (12 x 17 inches) with plastic wrap. This size
  • cookie sheet holds approximately 2 cups of puree. Spread puree or
  • fruit leather evenly over the plastic but do not push it completely
  • to the sides. Leave a bit of plastic showing for easy removal.
  • Place on a card table or picnic table in the hot sun to dry. If
  • the plastic is bigger than the cookie sheet and extends up the
  • sides, anchor it with clothes pins so it will not flop down and
  • cover the edges of the leather. Puree should dry in the sun six to
  • eight hours. The heat of the sun and the humidity make drying time
  • variable.

Puree and fruit leather may be dried in an oven set at 140 degrees (F). Too high a heat will disintegrate the plastic. Leave the oven door ajar so moisture can escape. It takes about six hours in the oven. It can also be placed in the back window of a car and dried. Leave the car windows open about 1 inch. To make sure the fruit leather is completely dried, pull from the plastic wrap or touch to see if the fruit leather is "tacky." Purees without sugar will be much drier and more brittle. If it is not completely dry it will mold during storage. When the fruit leather becomes too dry, it will crack and crumble and won't roll, but is still good to it "fruit chips." Roll fruit leather loosely in plastic wrap and store in the cupboard. To store puree without sugar for other uses, break it into small pieces and store in plastic bags in a dry, cool place or in the freezer. To make berry purees, rinse berries, drain, put in a blender and blend until the consistency of thick puree. Most berries do not need to be cooked. Salmonberries and highbush cranberries have larger seeds and should be put through a sieve after blending to remove seeds. Wash and cut about 1 quart of rhubarb into small 1/2" pieces. Put 1/4 cup water in a saucepan and add rhubarb. Cook only until rhubarb starts to soften. Let cool slightly; put in blender and make into puree. This should make about 2 cups of puree. Use soft rose hips (the riper they are the sweeter they are). It takes about 4 cups of rose hips to make 2 cups of puree. Remove stalks and blossom ends. Rinse berries in cold water. Put them into a pan and add enough water to almost cover. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Press through a sieve or strainer. All that does not go through the sieve is placed in the pan again. Add a little water, enough to almost cover, if you want a thicker puree, add slightly less. This time heat but do not boil so vigorously. This will dissolve a little more of the fruit so that it will go through the sieve. Press again and then repeat the process one more time. By now, most of the fruit should have gone through the sieve leaving only seeds and skin to discard. Rose hip powder may be made by crushing dried puree with a rolling pin until it is fine enough to suit you. This may be stored in small jars in a cool, dry place. It is good to sprinkle over cereal and to include in hot cakes and other dishes.

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