Food

Cultured Fruit Leathers

While scoring the internet, I came across a recipe for imitation fruit roll-ups. Then I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. And of course, whenever I see I recipe, I like to figure out how to make it easier and more simplified, without losing flavor.

I wanted to make the recipe, very similar to how I make Penelope’s smoothies so she would be more likely to like them. So I omitted the salt, spices and sweetener. My recipe is simply fruit and whey.

I thawed mangoes, blueberries and raspberries for several hours and then dumped them in my blender. I am not sure if my blender doesn’t work well, or it is just a piece of shit, in general, but I have to thaw my fruit till they are basically mush, before it will blend it up.

Cultured Fruit Leathers

Then I added some whey. To learn how to make whey, check out this post. It is really, really easy and you also get cream cheese when you do it!

I used three tablespoons of whey, no real reason, just felt like it needed three instead of two.

Cultured Fruit Leathers

Then I blended it up well to spread the whey through out the entire batch and put the fruit puree in another mason jar.

Cultured Fruit Leathers

Cultured Fruit Leathers

I put a lid on it, and put it on my counter to ferment for three days.

Now, are you wondering why in the hell would I want to add whey and ferment it before making the fruit leather? You can certainly leave this part out if you want. But if you do this step, it really kicks the healthy factor up a notch.

Your body needs raw enzymes and good bacteria to make your digestive system work properly. And your digestive system is one of the foundations for good health.

So anywhere and anyway I can, I like to eat raw and fermented foods.

Cultured Fruit Leathers

Then I spooned the mixture into my dehydrator. Mine came with flat silicon trays, but if you don’t have one, you can use wax paper to keep it from falling through the holes.

Cultured Fruit Leathers

Then I turned my dehydrator on and heated it for 24 hours. I put it at a 115 degree temp, if you go much higher than that you will kill the beneficial bacteria/enzymes.

Cultured Fruit Leathers

I checked it a couple of times to make sure I didn’t over cook it. Right at about 24 hours it looked like this and I felt like it was done.

Cultured Fruit Leathers

Then I sliced it up and peeled it off. And me and Penelope had a very tasty snack on the porch!

I have the Nesco Food Dehydrator. When I was researching which one to buy, everything I read online raved about the Excalibur Dehydrator, but it was too expensive. I am thrilled with my $50 Nesco one. It is compact and works just fine.

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  • The Annessa Family
    October 12, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Thanks for letting us know which dehydrator you use…I always wondered if the pricey ones we worth it or not!

    Brooke
    http://www.TheAnnessaFamily.blogspot.com

  • Allie
    October 12, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    I tried making smoothies in a blender, and I agree it is very difficult to do well. Now I use an immersion or stick blender for everything.

    Ever tried pouring a hot soup into a blender then pouring it out? Dangerous. Now I just pour it into a metal mixing bowl so I don't accidentally scratch the pot and use my immersion blender.

    It's also more easily washed.

    I feel like I sound like an ad or a paid person, but I'm not. I'm just sold on the idea. Try it sometime and see what you think!

  • Stephanie
    October 12, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    My pleasure, Brooke!
    Allie, that is exactly how I make soups, it is insane. I have been wanting one of those immersion thingys for a long time. Maybe Santa will bring me one!

  • Anna
    March 9, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    I love this idea! What a great way to use up all the whey that’s collecting in the back of my fridge!

    And yeah, that blender is a POS. We had the same one, and it was crappy. Finally burned out on me a couple of weeks ago. I was happy to get rid of it! I like Allie’s idea of using the immersion blender!

    • Stephanie
      March 9, 2012 at 7:12 PM

      I am glad I am not the only one. What kind of blender did you get to replace it?

  • Kristy
    April 10, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    The immersion blender info is good to hear. I’ve been wanting a regular blender, all I have is an immersion. I guess I’ll try it more often. 🙂
    Steph, I want to try these for L Beans party. Do you know of an alternative to whey to ferment? 1. I don’t have whey right now & only have 3 days to make them. 2, I have vegan friends and want to be totally inclusive. Would brAggs work? Is that what it’s used for?

    • Stephanie
      April 10, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      I am not sure if there is a whey alternative as far as making food with good bacteria in it. When you are soaking beans or nuts you can also use lemon juice. But to make these vegan, just omit the whey. The whey is just something to boost the nutritional value of them, they would still be great minus the whey.

      • kristy
        April 10, 2012 at 5:36 PM

        I may be thinking of something along the lines of kumbuca. But I’ll do basic leathers for now. Thanks.

        • Stephanie
          April 10, 2012 at 7:03 PM

          I bet kombucha would be great…I don’t know if that is considered vegan though…it is alive.

          • Janet O'Neill
            September 7, 2014 at 11:03 PM

            With all due respect to my vegan friends, plants are alive. Even after you pick them, they still grow. Think of the potatoes sprouting in the refrigerator, or the green onions growing new shoots. All ferments are alive, including sauerkraut, kombucha, some pickles, water kefir. Alive is not just the providence of us animals.

    • Emilee
      August 8, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      First off whey is the “alternative” option to real fermenting. It’s cheating really and not nearly as good as REAL lacto-fermentation.

      http://www.nourishingdays.com/2009/07/the-benefits-of-fermented-food-lacto-fermented-vegetables/

      http://www.pickl-it.com/faq/102/what-is-lacto-fermentation/

      Now if you do want to use a starter culture I would use Caldwells starter cultures for fermenting instead of whey. Personally.

      • Stephanie
        August 8, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        I don’t think it is cheating at all. I think it is doing great and the best I can!

  • Allison
    April 19, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    Wow, one day I’ll have to take the dehydrator plunge to try this… I have a Kitchen Aid 5 speed blender (model KSB560). It works like a champ for smoothies – I just throw whole frozen strawberries and bananas in there with no problem. It also works great for hummus and salsa, etc. Got the recommendation from America’s Test Kitchen, and I agree wholeheartedly.

    • Stephanie
      April 19, 2012 at 10:01 PM

      I will have to look into that blender, thanks for the tip!

  • Christine Harden
    December 2, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    Hi Stephanie,

    Sorry to bother you. I’m probably blind but I can’t find the link for the Nesco Dehydrator you have. Can you tell me what the model number is?

    Thanks!

    • Stephanie
      December 2, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      Sorry about that, not sure what happened to the link but it should work now!

  • Barbara
    June 25, 2015 at 1:12 PM

    Have you bought a Vitamix by now? 🙂

    • Stephanie
      June 27, 2015 at 10:54 AM

      lol, actually I ended up buying a blendtec.