There is a lot of fruit this year in Holt Wood. I have been harvesting apples, blackberries and elderberries (pictured) . And I already had blackcurrants and chokecherries from the allotment in the freezer. Making fruit leathers is a really great discovery for using up relatively small quantities of fruit and I have experimented with taste a bit. These fruit leathers are made from puree spread thinly on trays and then gently dried. There are loads of recipes on the internet but I wanted to see how the different fruits tasted.
I used the apples to give better consistency to all but the blackberry puree though any combinations can be tried. I made the apple puree first with 1200g roughly chopped apples with 1 cup of water and juice of 2 lemons cooked in a pan gently till soft and then pressed through a sieve with a wooden spoon (or back of a ladle works well). Add sugar to taste a little sharp, for me this was about 150g.
I pureed the blackcurrants, chokecherries and elderberries individually and mixed each of them with the same quantity of the apple puree. For the blackberries, I made a puree without adding apple as they were very ripe. Then I tested for taste and added sugar if needed. I tried two different methods of drying: a Stockli dehydrator with 3 round trays and temperature setting about 40-50°C, and the oven with 3 baking trays at the lowest slow cook setting. For each leather I covered the tray with a sheet of clingfilm, and then poured on a thin layer of mixed puree. The depth of about 3 mm is supposed to be ideal but my layers varied quite a lot and I discovered thin makes a crispy leather while thick makes a rubbery one.
The thinnest layers of blackberry only puree needed over 16 hours in the dehydrator. The other thicker leathers needed between 7 and 12 hours in the oven with frequent checking. Once dry the leathers feel stiff and peel off the clingfilm readily – then they can be rolled up and sliced – or keep some with the clingfilm. Half have gone in the freezer, a quarter given away, the rest (pictured) will be eaten very soon! Although they all look rather similar, each has a distinctive yummy taste!