How to make kid-friendly, tasty fruit leather with 4 ingredients

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One of my favorite things about fall is apple season. Apples are crisp and sweet and make for a great grab-and-go snack. They are also packed full of cancer-protective nutrients like fiber and the flavonoid quercetin, an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties.

This year I decided to do something different with my bundle of apples and make homemade fruit leather. Fruit leather is a great snack for any age, but is a particularly good kid-friendly alternative to fruit rollups.

Traditional fruit rollups contain almost no real fruit – the first two ingredients are corn syrup and sugar, followed by a small amount of fruit concentrate and a list of unknown additives (e.g. acetylated monoglycerides).

apple-cinnamon-fruit-leathersBy making your own fruit leather, you can enjoy a tasty, naturally sweet and chewy snack made with real fruit. This recipe also has only four ingredients (all of which you can pronounce): apples, water, cinnamon and dates.

The prep for this recipe only takes about 15 minutes, but make sure to set aside plenty of time for the fruit leather to slowly bake and dry out.

Start by chopping your apples and cooking them in a saucepan with a small amount of water. I kept the apples unpeeled since the skin is a major source of the beneficial fiber and phytochemicals found in apples.

Once the apple mixture is cooked and fully blended, spread a thin layer over parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. I used parchment paper, but you’ll get a more uniform, smoother fruit leather with a baking mat.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-4-31-21-pmWhen they are done baking, slowly peel the fruit away from the parchment paper and place on a large cutting board. A pizza cutter or sharp knife works well to slice into individual strips. You can store them flat in Ziploc bags or roll them up for more of a fruit rollup feel.

file_004I also made this recipe using pears in place of apples and cardamom instead of cinnamon for another version of a fall-inspired fruit leather.

Here’s the full recipe: Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather.

What fruit and spice combinations would you try?

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Author: Sonja Goedkoop

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is the lead registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her on Twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.

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