Think you need a special dehydrator to make your own fruit leather? Think again! You can actually make a delicious version of this popular kid's snack in your own oven. Cooking in the kitchen is a great way to give kids a hands-on activity and math lesson. They'll even learn shapes and letters if you cut it with fun cookie cutters. It's the most "fruitful" activity we can think of!
What You Need:
- 1 pound of any berries
- 1/4 cup water
- Sugar (optional)
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Butter knife
- Potato masher or fork
- Food processor or blender
- Plastic wrap (microwave safe)
- Cookie sheet
- Cookie cutters
- Non-toxic marker
What You Do:
- Head to the kitchen with your little chef, and have her wash the berries. if you're using strawberries, cut off the tops.
- Place the berries in a saucepan with the water, and cook it over medium heat.
- Have your child stir the berries frequently. As they heat up, they will soften and start to break down.
- Reduce the heat to low and mash the berries with a potato masher or fork.
- Spoon a small amount of mashed berries out of the pan and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes. When it's cool enough, taste it. If it needs more sweetness, add a little sugar to taste. If it needs tartness, add lemon juice.
- Simmer the mashed berries for a few more minutes, and then turn off the heat and let them cool for about 30 minutes, so it's no longer hot.
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees F.
- Pour the berries into a food processor or blender, and purée until smooth.
- Have your child line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap.
- Pour the berry purée over the plastic wrap, and spread it into a thin layer with a butter knife.
- Place the cookie sheet in the oven to dry for 2 to 3 hours, or until it's no longer sticky or soft. With thicker fruit leather, you may have to bake it longer.
- Alow the fruit leather to cool, and then leave it to dry at room temperature overnight.
- Roll the fruit leather up together with the plastic wrap, to store. Or lay the fruit leather on a plate and use cookie cutters or a knife to cut out letters and shapes.
Don't forget to remove the plastic wrap before you dig in!