Guest Recipe: Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

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This is a guest recipe from Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry.


Homemade mango and lime fruit-roll ups

When I was a kid, my mother would hardly ever buy the same treats everyone else had in their school lunches. At lunch time, we’d all put our brown bags on the table, and although the plain bags looked the same from the outside, my friends would unveil the contents of their bags like little magicians each pulling out treats more wondrous than the one before. Then, of course, the trading would begin.

“I’ll give you a Little Debbie for that Twinkie!”

“I’ve got Cracker Jacks! Anyone have Oreos?”

“I have a carob covered rice cake. Anyone? Anyone?”

That would have been me, trying my best to unload my unsweetened natural “treats” off to anyone who would take them. But it never worked. And of course when fruit roll-ups became the hot item, my mother was more than happy to buy me the “fruit leathers” from the health food store. They were thick little squares of leathery dehydrated fruit product. They were not red, shiny, or sweet. And most importantly, they did not actually roll up.

“It’s not the same!” I’d moan.

“It sure isn’t,” she’d say. You take a look at that fruit-roll up box next time, and if you can pronounce even half of the ingredients, I’ll buy the box for you. Fruit leathers might not be red and shiny, and they might not even roll up, but they are made of fruit.”

Smart lady, my mother. And of course when it was time to feed my own children, I stuck to the same logic my mother taught me. Because even though my girls will occasionally ask if they can please please please get this sweet-and-shiny-treat-in-a-wrapper-with-a-princess-on-it-and-a-prize-inside!, I just can’t throw that box in the cart. We eat plenty of treats in our family, but I still hold to the rule that the ingredients should be pronounceable, and fruit roll-ups certainly don’t make the cut.

My girls aren’t too thrilled for fruit leathers either, but luckily, I’ve found a way to make fruit roll-ups at home that are sweet, shiny, and totally rollable. I love to throw together whatever fruits I have on hand–even frozen berries work well, and I’ll often mix multiple fruits or throw in a bit of spice. All that’s required is a fruity puree and either a dehydrator or a low oven to transform it into a sticky delicious sheet of fruity goodness worthy of even the most exciting lunchbox.

Homemade PantryIn my book, The Homemade Pantry, I have a fruit-roll up recipe that involves giving your fruit a few minutes on the stove to soften and cook before dehydrating it. That works well, but lately I’ve also gotten into the habit of  leaving fruits raw and just throwing them in the blender, which I do with the two recipes that follow. If you’re working with a fruit with seeds (like blackberries) you can pass the puree through a sieve for a smoother fruit roll-up. You can make fruit roll-ups in a dehydrator or a very low oven, but the dehydrating time will vary depending on what you use.

A few notes on dehydrators: I have this Nesco unit, and it works well. I find that most of us who have the cheap, round, white models seem to covet the aptly named Excalibur – square, majestic, faster, and without the challenges that come up around doing anything on a tray the shape of a tire. If you really want to go for it, there are also a few pricey stainless steel models out there that do all the good work without the slowly heated plastic leaching chemicals into your food. Someday, someday. But until then, the cheap, round, white model does the job.

Homemade mango and lime fruit-roll ups

 

5.0 from 3 reviews

Mango Lime Fruit Roll-Ups
 
This is a guest Recipe from Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry.
Ingredients
  • 3½ – 4 cups peeled and chopped mango, from about 2 mangos
  • 6-7 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from about 3 limes
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup honey, or more, to taste
Instructions
  1. If you have a dehydrator: lightly oil the solid sheets of the dehydrator. You can also line them with parchment paper. If you’re using an oven: line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature it will go. It shouldn’t be above 175 degrees.
  2. Combine the mango, lime, applesauce and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste, and adjust for sweetness. The puree should be the texture of thin baby food. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.
  3. Pour a very thin layer of the puree on the prepared trays of the dehydrator or the baking sheets. Dehydrate according to your machine’s instructions, or dry in the oven for at least six hours, but up to twenty hours. When the fruit roll-ups are done, they should be just barely sticky.
  4. Cut into strips (keep them lined with parchment if that’s how you dehydrated them), and seal in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to a month.

 

Strawberries

 

5.0 from 3 reviews

Spicy Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups
 
This is a guest Recipe from Alana Chernila, author of The Homemade Pantry.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon gives a nice bite, and ½ teaspoon gives a spicy, adults only fruit roll-up. Of course, you can leave the cayenne out, but I find the spice makes a fruit roll-up that grownups love, too).
Instructions
  1. If you have a dehydrator: lightly oil the solid sheets of the dehydrator. You can also line them with parchment paper. If you’re using an oven: line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature it will go. It shouldn’t be above 175 degrees.
  2. Combine the the strawberries, applesauce, honey, lemon juice, and cayenne in the blender. Blend until smooth. Taste, and adjust for spice and sweetness.
  3. Pour the strawberry mixture onto the trays of the dehydrator or the baking sheets, making sure that you create a very thin layer. Dehydrate until the sheets are just barely sticky. In the round models, this could take as long as 24 hours, but in the Excalibur or the oven, it can be as quick as 6 or 7 hours.
  4. Cut into strips (keep them lined with parchment if that’s how you dehydrated them), and seal in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to a month.

 

AlanaAlana Chernila writes about food and family on eating from the ground up and wrote the book The Homemade Pantry.

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48 comments to Guest Recipe: Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

  • Tanya

    How long should they bake in a regular oven at 175 degrees? I can’t wait to try them!

    • Hi Tanya,
      In an oven, it tends to be on the shorter side of the range (6-10 hours), but I’ve found that there’s such variability when it comes to dehydrating in ovens! Start checking at 6 hours, but it might take more time. The rollups should be slightly sticky, but not wet at all.

  • Jessie

    My family LOVES homemade fruit roll-ups. I just take a pound of in season organic yummy sweet peaches, pit them and throw them skins and all in the blender and spread them on a silicone mat on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 hours at 170 degrees. Only one ingredient and they are so delicious.

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  • I made these for mu son…and myself. It was super easy, however I had a hard time getting off the parchment paper after I took them out of the oven. Any suggestions? Thanks@

  • Afton Strosahl

    Can you use frozen fruit when making these?

  • Nicole

    Hi there! Thanks for this great treat idea!
    Can you freeze the fruit roll ups? If so, how would you?

  • Audrey*

    Mine never seem to be sticky. They go from wet to firm; which dries into fairly tough in my oven on 175. My oldest doesn’t like them because they’re too tough and chewy. I tried not letting them get too dry and then turned the oven off and let it sit overnight. It was still too wet on the underside the next morning. This has definitely become a learning process for me but I’m determined to get it right! Thanks for the idea.

  • Tried these this weekend and it worked great!! The outside edges, where it was thinner crisped up before the middle was completely dehydrated but the kids like the little bits that broke off anyway. Next time, I might cut the edges off sooner when they are dehydrated and leave the middle until it’s done.

    I decided to cut them into fruit strips for easier storage but the kids didn’t care. Awesome idea and I’ll definitely be doing it again!

    FYI – I used strawberries, blackberries, kiwi, and pineapple (2 lbs total), 1/4 cup of honey (since pineapple adds sweetness), and 2 cups homemade applesauce (that we made in the morning – quite the ambitious weekend!).

    Thanks for the great recipe and an alternative, fun way of getting kids their fruit!

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