Summer is finally in full swing here in Seattle and I could not be more thrilled. I love the rain so Seattle winters do not bother me, however, come June I am always ready for the sun. Growing up in the south June was always a hot month full of beach trips, swimming pools, cool watermelon and young Chilton County peaches. Luckily I no longer have to endure the high temperatures and horrid humidity (sorry mom!) , but I am so very thankful for the fond memories of my youth and the magical Junes of the past.
Another reason I love June is because the freshest, juiciest, most beautiful produce starts poppin' up in our markets. Ripe strawberries, fragrant citrus, and sweet apricots were the first summer fruits to adorn our fridge. I love eating apricots plain but when deciding which flavor fruit leather to make I found these golden gems to be the perfect fit.
If you've seen some of my recipes from the past you can tell I have a crush on lavender. If I can somehow sneak it into a recipe, I will. So bear with me because I just bought a new stash of this magical fragrant herb :) Of course you can omit the lavender, heaven forbid, if you wish to do so. But I encourage you to try it. At first bite of the leather you get a zing of lavender but as you chew it fades into a soft ball of sweetness and you are overwhelmed with apricot. Delish!
Since we are not eating sugar(aside from honey) we are limited on what sweet "snacks" and "treats" we can have so these fruit leathers are just perfect for when we have a craving. You can use any kind of fruit combonation you like. Raspberries, bananas, mangos and apples all work well in a leather. There are also several ways to make leather, the most common is made in a dehydrator which is the method I prefer but you could also use an oven on a low temperature.
When you make a batch of fruit leather you will have more than enough so put some in a pretty package and give a neighbor, friend, or coworker a healthy and sweet snack!
Apricot And Lavender Fruit Leather
- 8-10 ripe apricots chopped (make sure they are ripe and sweet and not too tart)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 6 pitted dates (If you don't want to use dates you could omit them and use more honey, but the dates add a wonderful sweetness, also, if the dates are dry make sure you plump them up in hot water for about 10 minutes)
- 1/2 tsp dried lavender
- 1/4 cup of filtered water ( you can use the water the dates soaked in if you like)
Place all of the ingredients in a high powered blender and process until smooth. Taste and see if it is sweet enough for you. Apricot leather lends a more tart flavor than other leathers, which I prefer, so I don't like to add too much sweetener.
For drying in a dehydrator: Pour the mixture onto your Teflex sheets with your mesh screen underneath. Spread evenly until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Dehydrate for 8-12 hours at 105F**, or until it is completely dry. I make mine in the evening and dehydrate overnight.
For drying in an oven: Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Pour mixture onto parchment paper and spread evenly until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Dehydrate for 4-6 hours at the lowest temperature possible (145F or so)
**Note: Most dehydrator manuals tell you to dehydrate fruit leather at 135F or 140F. You are welcome to use these temperatures but remember that any temperature above 118F can kill the active enzymes in the food which aid in digestion. I prefer to dehydrate at this low temperature to keep these important enzymes intact despite the longer drying time.
When your leather is completely dry cut using a pizza cutter or scissors, roll up and enjoy!
To store, put in a airtight glass container and keep it in the pantry. But let me warn you...you might eat them all in one day!