Fruit Leather

A dried fruit sweet treat. Break off pieces to suck on along the trail; it melts in your mouth, a good replacement for hard candy. When you have an excess of fresh ripe fruit or berries, plan ahead and dry some in thin shallow “peels” in the sun. It happens quickly and easily.

• apricots
• peaches
• plums
• all berries
• apple or pear sauce that has been put through a ricer

Wash and dry ripe fruit as best you can. Place whole fruit in ricer, and mash through into a bowl, leaving just the dry peels or seeds in the ricer. You might like to add almond extract, honey, or lemon juice, depending on taste of fruit. Pour fruit sauce in a puddle in the middle of a glass cake or pie pan and spread to within 1/2 inch of all edges. It should be the consistency of apple butter. Place in the sun for the day, bringing it in as the sun goes down in order to avoid dew. Cover for the evening with an open paper bag or cheesecloth to keep fruit clean. Return to the sun the following day and repeat until dry. If a storm comes up for the day, put pan in oven at the lowest heat possible and leave the door slightly open. Watch carefully. When fruit is dry enough to be lifted off pan, just continue drying on oven racks so both sides dry. In summertime, it should take 3 to 4 days. When finished, peel off and lay fruit leather on a piece of wax paper and roll up. Place in a plastic bag and store in a cool, dry, dark place.

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