As we head into the summer months we look forward to the fresh and amazing fruits (and vegetables too). Fruit often gets ripe all at once though, so its good to know how to make jams and this month’s recipe: Fruit Leather!
Revitalizing Northwest Coastal Indian food Culture,
Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit
by Elise Krohn and Valerie Segrest
Dried berry cakes were a staple food throughout wintertime. This modern version is the equivalent to fruit roll ups and is a delicious snack that is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Salal berries dry best but you can mix in other berries for flavor.
6-8 cups fresh or frozen berries (salal, huckleberry, juneberry, strawberry, thimbleberry)
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Clean and rinse berries if necessary. Place ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Fit parchment/wax paper in a cookie sheet with sides. Pour blended berries onto the sheet and use a spatula to smooth them out to an even consistency of about a quarter inch.
if it is hot and dry, place the pan in the full sun, preferably in a windy spot. If there are flies or bugs, you can put cheesecloth over the berries. It will probably take 2-4 days to dry completely, so bring the berries in at night to prevent them from gathering dew. After the berries are mostly dried, lay another piece of wax paper over the berries and carefully turn them over. Peel the old wax paper off and let the other side dry out. When it seems the consistency of fruit leather, cut the berry sheet into strips and store in plastic bags to prevent it from drying out completely.
Use the lowest setting to dehydrate fruit leather. It will take several hours to a day for the fruit leather to have a dry but still pliable consistency.
Place the berries in the oven on the lowest temperature (usually around 170 degrees) and leave the oven cracked so that the water can evaporate off the berries. It will take 6-10 hours for the berries to dry. Place another piece of wax paper over the berries and flip them over when they are mostly dry to make the process quicker. Carefully peel off the wax paper and continue drying. If you have to leave, simply turn your oven off and place the berries in a warm spot in the house with cheesecloth or a paper towel over them. Continue drying as you can.