Monday, September 05, 2011

Making Apple Leather

You can technically make "leather" out of just about any fruit - peaches, cherries, applies, plums, etc. However, since we have access to a great deal of apples (I've lost track of how many pounds I've processed this year from our trees, but it runs at well over 100!), I chose to make apple leather this year.

To make apple leather, you must actually first make apple butter. Apple Butter is basically a more heavily spiced, thicker, applesauce. There is a good recipe for Apple Butter on Martha Stewart's website HERE, or, you can concoct your own version. I usually work in 20 lb batches of apples, so if you follow my recipe you'll probably need to downsize the ingredient amounts a bit...There are several methods for the drying of fruit leather, but due to time and convenience, I use my oven. Feel free to experiment with a food dehydrator, or even place the cookie sheets outdoors on a hot day! As I said, everyone has their own method of making fruit leather, but here is mine:

Jillian's Apple Butter Recipe

~20 lbs of small, roughly chopped apples, cores & stems removed
(we use the small & tart Lodi apples, which are similar to Granny Smith, but any apple will work)
4 cups apple juice (not from concentrate!)
2 cups water
4 cups cooking brandy (don't worry, the alcohol burns off!)
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp ground cardamom

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot, and bring everything to a boil. Then, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for several hours, stirring every 15-30 minutes to make sure nothing burns on the bottom. Once the apples have cooked down into a thick mush, remove the pot from heat and allow to cool. When the apple butter has cooled enough to work with, puree it (working in batches) in a food processor. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees F (most ovens won't go lower than this), and grease several large cookie sheets. Pour the pureed apple butter onto the sheets, no more than a half inch or so thick. Place in the oven and bake until dry and leathery, roughly 4-5 hours for convection, and up to 8 hours for a regular oven. This isn't an exact science, so keep an eye on the apple leather as it cooks - you want it dry and leathery like a fruit roll-up, but not burned! When the apple leather has reached the desired dryness and texture, remove the cookie sheets from the oven and allow the leather to cool. Once it is cool, take a spatula and free an edge of leather on the cookie sheet, and then peel the leather off of the cookie sheet. Place the leather on a rack to dry more thoroughly (this will most likely take a day or two). Then, sprinkle both sides with cornstarch, and voila! Your own tasty homemade snack!

*For further instructions and reference, please read "Stocking Up: How to Preserve the Foods You Grow Naturally" by Carol Hupping Stoner*

1 comment:

lee said...

thank you so much for sharing.
your recipe has been quite helpful!
i would recommend it to anyone
trinidad WI