It’s hard to improve on the simple perfection and deliciousness of a peach, but, if you’re experiencing abundance, there’s nothing that will get the kids more excited than a batch of old-fashioned fruit leather. It has a similar texture and taste as sugar confectionary but it is simply guilt-free, pure, concentrated, fruit goodness. With no nasties. This method is close to raw and has nothing more than, straight-up 100% peach, making them a great healthy snack for instant energy.
If you’re familiar with the boxed kind, then you might be rightfully wary. Store-bought fruit leather or fruit roll-ups are a scary concoction of sugars, fillers, preservatives, artificial colours and flavours and, marketing aside, far from what nature intended.
Peaches are seriously good for you, being both vitamin and mineral rich. A long slow dehydration will preserve the nutrients but transform the texture into stretchy, chewy, bendy fruit candy. Kids will go mad for this stuff! Trust me, no added sweetener is needed. So really, there’s no reason to ever consider the boxed brands when making your own is so insanely simple!
I chose to leave the peach skin on for added nutrition and fibre. Blending the fruit, skin and all, in a high-performance blender renders the skins unnoticeable. But the decision is yours. Removing the skin may be preferable if using conventional store-bought fruit. Unless you know the source or are using organic, peaches are typically sprayed with pesticides. In any case, thoroughly wash the fruit beforehand to be sure the skins are clean.
Cling-stone Peaches (or apricots)
As a quantity guide: 4 medium peaches (with skins) fills one Luvele dehydrator fruit roll-up sheet. 8 cling-stone peaches (with skins) fills two Luvele fruit roll-up dehydrator sheets on so on.
1. Thoroughly wash the peaches.
2. Cut away the peach flesh as close to the stone as possible then cut into small pieces.
3. Fill the blender jug with pieces of peach and then blend until you have a smooth puree.
4. Pour the peach puree into the Luvele food dehydrator fruit roll-up sheets.
5. Use a spatula to spread the puree to the edges of the tray. Aim for an even and consistent coverage. For best results, fill the trays to capacity. Thicker puree is slower to dehydrate but produces deliciously chewy leather.
6. Place the fruit roll-up sheets in the dehydrator trays and stack.
7. Use the following settings for your Luvele maker: ‘Express’ on low 55 ºC (130 ºF) – medium 65 ºC (150 ºF). Lower temperatures will retain the peaches nutrients but will take longer.
8. Leave to dehydrate for 12 – 24 hours depending on your Luvele food dehydrator model and the setting you choose. (I used the Hybrid Biltong dehydratoron medium for 24 hours.) Check the trays after 12 hours and then periodically.
Fruit leather dries from the outside edge toward the centre. Test for dryness by touching the centre of the leather; if the puree feels sticky or it leaves an indentation, it requires more time.
As the peach puree dehydrates it may crack in places. Don’t worry, this is normal. It will still lift out of the tray in one piece when fully dehydrated.
9. When the peach leather is done, let it cool to room temperature before trying to peel it off the trays.
10. Carefully peel back the fruit leather from the plastic tray. If it is completely dehydrated it will peel off easily. Take it slowly because small, denser pockets of fruit can remain tacky and stick in places.
11. Lay the fruit leather on a chopping board and slice into strips. Kitchen scissors work well too.
12. Store the fruit leather in an air-tight glass jar at room temperature for up to a month. To enjoy peachy treats mid- winter, store in the freezer for up to 1 year.