Archive for Dried Fruit and Leathers

Dried Tomatoes

Have you ever grown or seen Juliet tomatoes at the market. They’re kind of like a mini roma tomato and while they are too small for me to bother peeling and canning whole they are just the right size to dry. There are lots of methods for drying tomatoes including the age-old sun-dried variety. A few years ago I picked up an excalibur dehydrator on craigslist and that is what we use for all of our drying.

Juliets

I’ve been drying the juliets from our garden all summer as they’ve ripened but I also ordered a half-bushel from the farm for an all out, run the dehydrator non-stop for a week, drying bonanza. Next year I should really try to get a quarter bushel at a time. We cut each tomato in half and toss them on the dehydrator tray. They should be arranged cut side up but honestly, there are just too many of them for me to worry about it.

They shrivel down to a pretty small size, nickel or quarter sized I’d say, so I usually use more than a recipe calls for. Most often I rehydrate them in some hot, even boiling, water before adding them to a dish but this year I want to experiment with grinding them up into a powder and adding it to sauce and soups. The flavor is so intensely tomato. We store them in a couple of vacuum-sealed canisters and I keep a small jar of them in the kitchen pantry.

Dehydrated Tomatoes

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Five Hours

I learned a few things about fruit leather over the 2010-2011 winter. The first was that my kids really only like strawberry fruit leather. Apricot, grape, and peach just are not their favorite so they would request the strawberry in their lunch and then when that was gone, they didn’t want fruit leather anymore. The other piece of knowledge was really just a confirmation of my suspicion that I had been drying the fruit leather too long. Turns out a lot of the leather was brittle and crumbly, not at all what I wanted to pack in lunches.

tops

So this year I went in search of the perfect drying time. In my house, in late Spring it turns out five hours is the magic time. Or at least I think it is, we’ll see how all those leathers peel once they’re out of the freezer. They were much more supple when they went in. I made four or five batches to make close to 100 strips using my usual recipe. I used to cut the leather and the parchment into strips and then roll it, this year I rolled the entire sheet of leather in a large piece of parchment, then cut it at two inch intervals to create the strips. It made the whole process so much easier.

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Grape Leather

DATE: 08/21/2010
FRUIT: 4 cups pureed grapes
SOURCE: farmers market
COST: $5
RECIPE: puree the grapes. For each 2 cups of puree add 3 T honey and 1 T lemon juice. Spread evenly on dehydrator trays and dry.
YIELD: 16 rolled strips
TASTE: yummy, but really sticky. I don’t think homemade grape fruit leather really works as well as some of the other flavors we do.

Comments (1)

Dehydrated Tomatoes

Juliets

DATE: 08/22/2009
FRUIT: half-bushel of juliet tomatoes
SOURCE: CSA farm
COST: $40.00
RECIPE: sliced in half and put in the dehydrator for more than 48 hours!
YIELD: about 13 cups
TASTE: good, they taste intensely of tomatoes

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Apricot Leather

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DATE: 07/31/2010
FRUIT: 4 cups pureed apricots
SOURCE: farmers market
COST: hard to know but probably about $5
RECIPE: puree the apricots. For each 2 cups of puree add 3 T honey and 1 T lemon juice. Spread evenly on dehydrator trays and dry.
YIELD: 18 rolled strips
TASTE: yummy

Comments (3)

Strawberry Leather

DATE: 05/15/2010
FRUIT: 2 quarts strawberries
SOURCE: farmer’s market
COST: $8.75
RECIPE: puree strawberries to make 2 cups puree, mix in 3 T honey and 1 T lemon juice, spread thin and dry in the dehydrator
YIELD: 18 rolled strips
TASTE: yummy

Comments (5)

Dehydrated Prune-Plums

DATE: 09/27/2009
FRUIT: 2 quarts of prune-plums
SOURCE: farmer’s market
COST: $10
RECIPE: n/a
YIELD: 1 quart
TASTE:

Comments (8)

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