The trouble with eating is that it is best to do it regularly in balance with energy and nutrient needs. After spending the last year trying to get lean, I now find I must work at making sure I get enough to eat and drink in order sustain my training efforts. This frequently means I need snacks NOW. NOW when I’m about to exercise and can tell I’m on empty. NOW when I’m in the middle of a workout. And NOW when I’ve just finished.
There are all kinds of products out there to energize the athlete, but I think home made fruit leather is the perfect energy snack.
— It is concentrated
— It is full of natural and quickly absorbed carbohydrates and nutrients
— It is light weight and easy to store
I like knowing what my food is made of. I’m sure those energy bars and gels have super powerful, secret ingredients that make them work, but God made fruit and said it was good! He also specifically told us it was for us to eat. However, most fresh fruit would bruise or squish if carried much in a hip pack. Not to mention, hands and face tend to get sticky when it is eaten. Then you have to decide what to do with the pit, peel, or core. Not so with fruit leather.
- To make fruit leather, just choose ripe fruit. It can even be slightly over ripe. Wash, peel, pit, and all that sort of stuff. You can mix different kinds of fruit.
- Puree it. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice per quart of puree to anything that you think might suffer from oxidation.
- Spread it about 1/8 inch thick, except on the edges, where it should be closer to 1/4 inch.
- It dries in a few hours. I like to use my Excalibur 3900 Deluxe Non-Timer Series 9 Tray Food Dehydrator – Black. The machine comes with great instructions. The sheets that make preparing fruit leather so simple need to be ordered separately. Pack of 9 Premium 14″ x 14″ Non-Stick Dehydrator Sheets- For Excalibur 2500, 3500, 2900 or 3900 (I do have friends who have done it on cookie sheets in their ovens, but it limits how much can be dried at one time.)
- We have stored it double wrapped in plastic wrap, then inside a ziplock bag or plastic storage container for months.
Making fruit leather seems to me to take less time and effort than drying the individual pieces of fruit. The drying time alone is much shorter. If you have your own source of summer fruit, making fruit leather is a way to preserve a lot quickly, no freezing or canning required. You don’t have to stand over the dehydrator either. Then, throughout the year, you can have God’s brand of energy snack!