Monday, January 14, 2013

fruit Leather

Dehydration Assignment


The materials you will need to complete this "fruit leather" recipe are the following (the items followed by an * are recommended, but not necessarily mandatory):

- Blender/ food processor (to blend the fruits into a sauce)
- Fruit Processor* (to blend the fruits into a sauce)
- Parchment paper (to remove the dried product from the pan, otherwise it sticks and is virtually impossible to get off without ruining the product)
- Pan (to hold the sauce)
- Honey *(to help with viscosity and flavour)
- Other sweeteners* (for the sweet tooth's)
- Oven*/Dehydrator* (one of the two)
- Spatula* (to spread the sauce evenly on the pan)
- Knife*/Spoon*/Fork* (other methods to spread the blend)
- Strainer *(to wash the fruits)
- Selected Fruits (your choice, each fruit or series of fruit may not cook as well as others, and the cooking time will vary depending on the viscosity of the blend. Also, you have to be careful with some fruits because if not done perfectly it will not turn out.



(Don't forget to wash your hands!)
1. Put all of your fruit and combinations into separate bowls to keep them apart and well organized.
2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
3.  Remove all unwanted parts of the fruits using the knife, such as strawberries stems and apple cores.  (remember to always be safe and cut away from you).
4. Wash all of the fruits before putting them into the blender.
5. Blend fruits (and a bit of honey) until it turns into a thick liquid and all chunks of the fruit are gone.
6. Spread out the parchment paper onto the pan and then slowly pour the fruit puree onto the pan. Spread it around using your spreading tool (spatula/spoon)and be sure to distribute it out as evenly as possible. Also, get it right into the corners so it doesn't waste any space. The mix should be about a few millimetres thick, but make it slightly thicker along the edges so be sure not to pour too much.
7. Once you have finished all the pans like this, having them all completely spread out evenly (1cm thick), then you can proceed to fit as many of the pans into the oven as possible. If you have more than one pan or if the fruit puree is very fluid (ie. the sauce is over 1cm thick), then you may need to wait a little longer until they are ready.
8. Keep the oven door closed, but check on it regularly.
9. After two hours check on the fruit and see if it really is dehydrated, as it should be very dry and also much thinner than when you began. You can touch it with a fork and it should be dry enough to not stick. BUT BE CAREFUL!! You don't want to cook it too long to actually burn the edges.
10. Once the fruit is completely dry and leathery, take it out of the oven (you have the option to remove the sheet if you want). After that you can cut it into strips. If you kept the parchment paper on it, it may stay nice and fresh, and won't stick together. With all your strips you can roll them up for storage and whenever you want to eat some, you simply unroll it and peel it off the paper.


Our first try was not a complete success. We made some minor mistakes on multiple occasions, whether it was having the mixture too thick or having the mixture in the oven too long.  As a result, the product just didn't work out very well. The fruits that we used on our first try were pineapple, apple and a mixture of strawberries and blueberries. We kept them in the convection oven for a little over two hours. For each solution we did something slightly wrong - the berry solution was too thick, as we ran out of pan room and the pineapple puree just dried in an odd way and was not an even dryness at all. The apple was the one that worked the best, although we over-cooked it which made it crispy and gave us apple chips.  Of these less than ideal final products, we were able to salvage some of it and get some reasonable pieces from the middle of each pan of dehydrated leather.  
We wanted it to turn out well so we decided to pick them up and try again. Since we used all of our other fruits for the first mixture we only had apples left and so we had to attempt the solution again using just these. On our second try we made sure it was spread very evenly. The outside edge was still a little overcooked, but not nearly as much as before. Overall, it was more of a leather feel and look to it and also cut relatively easily.  In the end, making fruit leather was a bit tricky, but it was a fun and tasty experiment.


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