While shopping for Brea’s special Annie’s fruit snacks last week, I found a new product by them – fruit roll-ups! And even better, sugar wasn’t even listed as an ingredient. They are solely fruit puree and citric acid (lemon juice). So I took it upon myself to figure out how to make these tasty, healthy snacks for myself! They are much easier than you would imagine. You’d think you would need gelatin, sugar, and a bunch of other ingredients, right? Nope! All you need is about 3 cups of fruit of your choosing, some lemon juice, a blender, a cookie sheet, some cling wrap and a few hours of patience while they “cook” (really they’re drying, but that’s not important right now). Besides the fact that these taste simply amazing, you control exactly what goes in there, and I love that. No artificial colors or flavors or preservatives, just perfectly wonderful fruit and the amount of sweetener you like (which I chose to not add, but you can if you want to). Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your own fruit roll-ups made of PURE fruit.
First, you decide which fruit(s) you’d like to use. You can do just about any fruit or combination of fruits that you like. And while it’s fabulous to use fresh fruit, you can also use frozen or fruit you’ve canned. I chose to do a strawberry-kiwi mix with a few added blueberries.
Prepare Fruit: Make sure your fruit is washed and then roughly chop just for the purpose of measuring. You’ll need about 3 cups fruit for a standard sized rimmed baking sheet (13×18, or 13×15). If you have some leftover, you can toss the extra in a smoothie!
Sweeten: If your fruit is naturally sweet enough, you don’t even have to add anything. I personally think fruit has enough natural sugar, but again this is totally up to you! You can use granulated sugar, honey, or even splenda or agave syrup. You can also add ground spices and extracts at this point. Flavors and sweetness will intensify after drying, so less is more. If you are using a light colored fruit, add about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to prevent browning.
Puree: Just pop it all in a food processor so you can get it nice and smooth. You want it to be thin enough to pour/spread on the baking sheet, but thick enough that it stays in place once you spread it. And if your mixture is still pretty thick, just add a little liquid. You can add water or fruit juice.
Line Pans: Line your pan with either plastic wrap or use a silicone baking mat, which is what I used. If you use plastic wrap, do not use the cheap stuff. Use good quality plastic wrap, not a bargain brand. You might run the risk of them melting, even at such a low heat. Just cover the entire pan with plastic and smooth out any wrinkles. Make sure to leave at least an inch or two of overhang because it will kind of shrink up in the oven. Leave the edges loose (as in, don’t tighten them around the pan).
Spread Puree: Use an offset spatula to gently spread the mixture in an even layer. The more evenly you spread, the more evenly it cooks. Mine was a little thin towards the edges so I had to cut those off because they were crunchy!
Cook: Set your oven temperature to the lowest setting. Mine is 170, many ovens will go down to 140. 170 works great, and it will be a little faster than 140. You’re basically just warming the air, helping the fruit dry faster.
This is where the patience comes in! It takes about 6-8 hours depending on which temperature your oven allows and whether you have a convection oven with a fan inside. The edges will cook the fastest, so if they start to get crispy like mine did you can cut those edges off later or brush them with a little water to re-hydrate them. You know it’s done when the middle is no longer tacky. It should not stick to your finger or indent when you touch it.
This is when we took a little walk around the block since the weather was pretty nice!
Remove: Once done, peel it off the plastic or baking mat while it’s still warm and it should come off easily.
Roll: Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to place your entire mixture on, and roll the whole thing up.
Cut: Cut about one inch thick segments all the way through the roll…and voila! You have yummy fruit roll-ups to use as healthy snacks or to add to a lunchbox!
Some will stay put, but if not you can use a little string or piece of tape around them to help them stay.
If stored well, these will stay for several weeks. I stored mine in a mason jar. You can also freeze them if you make more than one batch at once!
Enjoy! These probably won’t last very long! 🙂