Children do strange things. I am not talking about the things they do when they are little and it’s out of their control, I am talking about the weird things they choose to do. I am also not talking about my child but myself and (and I am sorry to bring her down with me) my sister. Our preferred media was not worms or dirt but food. We ate packets of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate dry with a spoon being careful not to inhale at the same time and cause a coughing fit. Similarly, we demanded pots of Kool-Aid mix in our care packages at camp so we could not make Kool-Aid but instead dip our fingers in and lick it off until our index fingers were indelibly stained with the sugary mixture. Like most kids ( I assume), we made concoctions out of the condiments in the fridge from chocolate syrup to BBQ sauce, our earliest attempts at cooking you might say, which always, no matter the ingredients, smelled distinctly of vomit. And then we made each other try it. The worst offence, however, involved the fruit roll-up.
We would peel the sugary goodness from the cellophane and wrap it around our, yet again, index fingers. We would then suck it like a lolly pop until all that remained was a food colouring stained sticky finger. That is, unless we fell asleep first or something equally gross. I distinctly remember sitting in the bath with my pointer finger resolutely in the air, so as not to “mess up” my fruit roll-up. At one point, they introduced cut-outs which made the process a little trickier but we remained undeterred.
Fruit roll-ups are therefore both gross and packed with sugar but homemade fruit leather? A different story all together. The product of yet another attempt to preserve my seemingly unending glut of apples: apple and blackberry fruit leather. Very easy to make, just takes a little time and patience, most of which can happen while you are asleep (maybe not if you are freaky about the oven being on).
You will need apples, blackberries (or some other fruit), a lemon or two, some honey (optional).
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting, usually around 60°C or 140°F.
I used 500g of each apples and blackberries but you can pretty much use any amount depending on how much you want to make. Peel, core and slice the apples and put them in a pan with the blackberries, cook until soft. Around 20 minutes. Push the mixture through a sieve or food mill (if you have one) until its smooth. You should have around 700g.
I then added around 150g of honey. ADDED SUGAR all the parents in the room are screaming. Yes. Why did I do it? Firstly, the blackberries were extremely tart as were the apples so the resulting mixture was actually not sweet at all. Had the blackberries been sweeter, or the apples, then I wouldn’t have needed it but they weren’t so I added it.
Spread the mixture onto some parchment paper on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for around 12-18 hours. It will be completely dry and peel easily off the parchment.
Roll it up in grease proof paper and store in an airtight container. It should keep for around 5 months.
Now you can wrap it around your finger and lick it, or you can also cut into shapes or use pinking shears to make strips. The world is your oyster.