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DIY Kitchen: fruit leather

2014 September 4
by Rachel Turiel

fruit leather5

Peach leather

It’s getting to be that time of year when my focus becomes somewhat narrow, vascillating precisely between salsa and fermented pickles. It’s so familiar really, the way the season of food preservation marches in, elbowing out other events, like er, personal hygiene and floor-sweeping (the last time I swept I couldn’t discern between rat poop and chokecherry seeds, which goes to show how wild it’s gotten over here). And as my friend Mikel said recently—sweating through her own hatch of fuzzy-headed peaches, needy as newborns—this food preservation is a time-limited event. It’s what you do when the produce rolls in, ripe and plentiful. You transform the harvest with knives and stoves and jars and freezers. And in winter, you feast.

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Those hard water spots! I’ve spent hours trying to polish them out. Just kidding, didn’t actually notice them until I took this picture.

Which is to say, I’m all in. We went on an epic mushroom foray recently with friends, three adults and seven kids fanned out through the spruce/fir, eyes to the ground, ready to rush over with baskets and knives at the first whoops (even if sometimes it was the 5-year old whooping over finding an ant hill or elk scapula). And it occurred to me that in the not so distant past, food procuring and preservation was our sole human work.

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Proof that chokecherries can be used as lipstick!


Proof that children *can* get cuter as they age, toothily speaking.

Chokecherry-pear leather. Holy motherfreaking omg.

fruit leather

If you’re making chokecherry leather, to avoid adding sweetener, mix with a sweeter fruit like apples or pears. Because apples and pears aren’t generally ripe for another month, make your chokecherry puree and keep in freezer until other fruit are ready.

I’ve been making a fair amount of fruit leather, because:

1) The kids think it’s candy.

2) I picked the fruit and made the leather and it didn’t come from a wrapper and there’s no added sugar and the kids still think it’s candy.

Making fruit leather is easy, because you know, as someone who doesn’t peel fruit or deseed tomatoes, everything I make is fairly unfussy. One thing I must mention is that we live in an exceptionally dry and sunny environment. I’m not sure you could make this recipe in say, coastal Oregon without a dehydrator. But I think September and October are some of the sunnier months everywhere, so maybe?

*Bonus question: As longtime readers know, Dan likes to reinvent songs with his own lyrics. Heard him singing this recently while slicing peaches.”I’ve got a little peach and it won’t be bruised.” (hint: Led Zeppelin…but what song?)

Fruit Leather

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Fruit, of any kind.


Cut and simmer fruit for approximately 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring frequently and evaporating off some of the water. Blend in food processor or blender. Spread about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick on parchment paper (not wax paper, to which it’ll stick) which is placed on cookie sheet or oven rack or window screen in the sun. You can protect from flies with some hardware screen, or just, you know, look the other way. Bring inside at night to protect from hungry night-prowlers. After 3-5 days, or when completely dry, peel off parchment (which you can reuse), roll up and impress your children.



20 Responses leave one →
  1. Andrea permalink
    September 4, 2014


  2. Becky permalink
    September 4, 2014

    thanks for a whole post on what was in the tray! Does Rose always smile when doing work?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      September 4, 2014

      She must be indulging my need to see as many one front-toothed smiles as possible.

  3. September 5, 2014

    Hmmm…I will have to try this. I tried making yogurt leather earlier this summer (read about it in an oblique reference in a book…did not bother trying to find an actual recipe) during the cloudiest, rainiest, most humid week…without a dehydrator. Needless to say, the results weren’t pretty. But maybe September fruit leather in the sun might work. Any thoughts on how long it lasts after it’s done (as in, for a hiking trip next summer? Or make a freeze the puree now and make the leather right before the trip?)?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      September 5, 2014

      Andrea, we just finished our last fruit roll from last fall, so if thoroughly dry (but pliable!) should last a year. We store ours in jars with a porous lid like a paper towel, coffee filter, metal lid with holes poked into it (Col loves this job). :)

  4. September 7, 2014

    Whole grain breads, cereals and pastas have high amounts of thiamin. You can be relaxed just by consuming food
    and drinks. The factors included above determine your Daily energy expenditure.

  5. September 7, 2014

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  6. Daniel Jokelson permalink
    September 8, 2014


    — Do you have to cook the fruit? I have some really, really ripe pears, and I’m wondering if I can just blend them and spread them out to dry, and thus keep some of the nutrients/vitamins/minerals that will be lost through cooking. Can you make raw fruit leather?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      September 8, 2014

      Totally. It just may need more drying time because of extra water not having evaporated via cooking.

  7. Melissa permalink
    September 12, 2014

    Ooh, is it ‘Hey, hey, what can I do?’. I really enjoy your DIY kitchen posts. I’m making your chai today. Thanks : )

  8. Dick Carlson permalink
    August 12, 2017

    I really enjoyed your article on chokecherries in Colorado Country Life!
    Great writing. A couple of things I’ve noticed as I’ve been making jelly/jam over the years. The smell of the chokecherry blossoms is wonderful, when this happens, I know it’s spring! Also when picking, you have to beat the evening grosbeaks to the cherries and sometimes that means picking them before they’re nearly black. When I juice them, I just use a jelly colander and my hands, no bag or cheesecloth. This makes the stuff kind of opaque, but I think having some of the flesh from the cherries mixed in gives a more robust flavor.
    We live near Peyton, CO at 7,240 elevation and are picking right now.
    Thanks and Happy Picking!

  9. Eunice Timbrook permalink
    August 22, 2017

    Hi, will try making the fruit leather, but first time working with chokecherries, how did you get the seeds out of the chokecherries?
    Thanks! ET

  10. Vitalia Daza permalink
    September 4, 2017

    I’d like to know if I should be straining the pits too or just grinding up in my vitamix :)

  11. Shel permalink
    September 18, 2018

    The Zep tune: Hey Hey, What Can I Do

  12. Jennifer permalink
    August 23, 2022

    Hey! We just read about chokecherry fruit leather in our Samual Thayer foraging book! Wondering, when you cook the chokecherries (to then strain and use juice for leather), do you add any water at all to the kettle for cooking the cherries? I’ve been working with chokecherries for years but only ever made jelly and syrup . When I’ve made those, I always cook them in water but that might defeat the purpose if I’m trying to dry it out. Thanks!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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