I’m a huge fan of fruit leather. I’ve spent hours mixing up different concoctions of fruits, herbs, spices, and drying them into thin, sticky, sweet sheets. It’s all good fun and one of my favorite ways to preserve food. But, of all of the fruit leathers I’ve made, Autumnberry remains my all time favorite. Its a fruit that has, in my opinion, the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Its pulp is very fine, almost silky, when cooked down and extracted from its seeds. Drying this fine pulp results in a firm, flavor packed sheet of goodness.
Fruit leather is really simple—much more so than jam or jelly. Really, all you do is pulp up your desired fruit, spread it in thin sheets on a non-stick surface and dehydrate it. Also, it can store for years, and I’ve kept some leathers over 3 years in an airtight jar.
Autumnberry Fruit Leather
What You Need:
1 gallon ripe Autumnberries
- First things first: turn your autumnberries into pulp. To do this, load them into in a medium-large pot and put them on the stove at medium heat. Pop a lid on the pot and let the berries begin to soften.
- Once they start to simmer, stir the berries every few minutes until they’re heated all the way through—this will soften the flesh and bring out a lot of juice from them.
- Take the berries off of the heat. Using either a standard blender or immersion blender (I prefer immersion), blend the cooked berries until they become a nice fine pulp with seeds conveniently suspended throughout.
- Strain this through a fine sieve into a bowl. I use a ladle to take them from the pot to the sieve, then use the bottom of the ladle to push the pulp through. I finish of the extraction with a flat wooden spoon. It works best for me to strain one ladle full at a time. (don’t forget to save the excess pulp/seed mixto make Autumnberrykin, an interesting fermented drink!)
- Once you’ve extracted a satisfactory amount of pulp, you’re ready to dry it. There’s two ways to do this—using a purchased dehydrator (round or square, doesn’t matter) or in an oven. In the dehydrator, spread a layer of the autumnberry pulp across a nonstick sheet (could be what comes with your dehydrator model or even parchment/wax) paper to roughly 1/4″ thickness. Then dehydrate on the fruit setting for roughly 3 -4 hours.
- If you don’t have a dehydrator, set your oven to its lowest setting, which is usually around 170 degree F. Cover a baking sheet in parchment or wax paper. Spread the autumnberry pulp across the nonstick surface to approximately 1/4″ thickness. Stick your sheets of pulp into the oven and then prop the door open by jamming the handle of wood spoon in it. Allow them to dehydrate for 2 hours, then check them every 30 minutes or so until they’re nice and firm and tacky all the way through. A nibble never hurts at this point, either.
- Peel your finished fruit leather from your dehydrator surface—it will be nice and sticky. I tear mine up into small bite size pieces and jam them into a clean, airtight, glass jar. They’ll keep in there for years—but I highly doubt they’ll last that long. Make a bunch!