Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Strawberry Fruit Leather

Every summer we pack our freezer full of berries and vegetables; and every spring, I purge the freezer of all these fruits and vegetables in preparation for the coming season.  Contrary to what most people think, freezing food doesn't preserve it indefinitely.  Food looses its nutrition, flavor, and freshness while frozen.  It is recommended that food is consumed within a year after being frozen.

It is February, and strawberry season is only 4 months away.  I have a gallon-size freezer bag full of strawberries.  I can only make so many jars of jam, smoothies, and muffins with strawberries, so I decided to make fruit leather, which is commonly known as Fruit Roll-Ups.  Making fruit leather requires heat because you are basically drawing the moisture out of the food.  My options are: an electric food dehydrator, oven, or the sun.  Living in the northwest completely rules out using the sun, and using the oven seems complicated, so I decided to use our electric food dehydrator which only gets used about once each year.

Some may say that using an electric food dehydrator isn't sustainable, which I agree, isn't.  I am getting the added benefit of the heat it produces by using it in the winter when it's cold outside.  I plan to create a solar dehydrator/oven this summer.  More about that in the coming months...

I thawed the strawberries, pureed them in a blender, and spread them on the fruit roll trays that came with the food dehydrator.  I only have three trays but I could have used four.  The first two trays only have strawberries, whereas the third tray has vanilla yogurt mixed in.  I didn't take any measurements, but in the end, about 2/3 of a gallon bag of strawberries filled three trays.  No sugar was added because the puree tasted sweet and my 2 year old son won't know the roll-ups aren't sweet like the traditional ones.  (The benefit to having a young child who doesn't know any better.)

The house smelled heavenly of strawberries!  It smelled like I was canning jam which makes the home feel so cozy.  After 7 hours the fruit leather was finished!!  My little bear cub couldn't contain himself while I rolled the leather.  He ravenously ate 2 rolls.


jenn merfee-t February 6, 2011 at 9:48 AM  

That sounds delicious! What a great idea! I used up my remaining strawberries and rhubarb yesterday in two quickly-devoured pies. I wish my freezer had the problem of too much fruit, instead of all the frozen soups and fennel. What is one to do with fennel? I will trade you for some fruit leather. Ha!

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A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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