This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Steve Muskovin wrote:
>I am looking to cut through the fruit leather recipe trial and errors.
Steve Muskovin .
>From Sandy Fifer :
I've made leather from strawberries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, and
pears. I didn't like the blueberry and cherry. The skins were too
annoying and I couldn't figure out a good way to get rid of them. I
was able to get rid of the raspberry seeds but the leather was just too
gooey for my taste. I puree the strawberries. The stone fruit I skin and
then puree the flesh. I cook it briefly. Bring it to a boil for a few
minutes to kill off any nasties (read this in PFB). I use 1 1/2 cups
(1 1/4 cups if really thick) per American Harvester leather sheet. I add
up to 1 Tbsp. sugar and depending on the fruit, an optional 1/2 tsp.
vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp. finely minced ginger to each 1 1/2 cup of
puree (before putting it on the sheet).
I lightly oil the sheets -- this is very important. When I've
forgotten to oil the sheets the leather has been impossible to remove.
As indicated in PFB, I start the dryer at 130 deg. for the first hour,
137 for the second, then 145 until the leather starts lose its
tackiness (can be two to four hours depending on conditions, etc.) then
lower to 135 deg until done. I rotate the trays (top to bottom and
front to back) every half hour or so if I'm in the house. The
strawberry I did last night took seven hours total. Pear has taken
nine hours. PFB talks about needing the high temperature (145 deg) to
kill mold, etc., but not wanting it the whole time because the fruit
can get caramelized and scorch. And not starting at too high a
temperature so that the fruit doesn't get case-hardened (cooked and
sealed on the outside so that the inside can't dry out properly).
When the drying is done I remove the leather immediately. While it's
warm it's still pliable and can be easily peeled off. Letting it sit
for even 5 minutes has made it more difficult to remove. I tear off a
large square of waxed paper and put the circular leather on that.
It's just about the same size. Then I use a scissors to cut the
leather, backed by the waxed paper, into 8 wedges. I stack them and
store them in a ziplock bag in a cool place for the winter.