Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

How to Make Homemade Fruit Rolls {VIDEO}

June 20th, 2012 · 24 Comments · Do It Yourself, Frugality, Recipes

dried strawberry fruit rolls dehydrator

My 7-year-old helped me demonstrate how to make homemade strawberry fruit rolls (also called fruit leather) in our dehydrator in this simple video:

If you can’t view the video, click How to Make Homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll Ups to see it at YouTube.

I know not everyone has time or means to watch videos, so here’s some text to give you an overview of what’s inside.

The method:

  • Wash fruit.
  • Puree.
  • Pour onto dehydrator sheets or parchment paper* about 1/8-1/4-inch thick. (Never waxed paper!)
  • Dehydrate at about 135F for 6-12 hours.

Some highlights and tips:

  • I don’t hull my strawberries.
  • You rarely need to add water while pureeing fruit for fruit rolls, but if you do, add slowly.
  • You don’t need sweetener, but if you want to add it, use sparingly.
  • Use any kind of fruit.
  • Add cinnamon to apple rolls – cooked or raw applesauce.
  • The fruit rolls/fruit leather should last fine at room temperature for over a year.
  • *Huge important note on parchment paper – cheap stuff won’t work. It sticks to the fruit leather. I use If You Care unbleached paper, and you really can reuse and reuse. Once strawberries stain it, I still use it for baking messy things or whatever. The color stays, but the flavor doesn’t. It’s coated with a bit of silicone, which is why the fruit rolls release farrrr differently than cheap parchment. I wonder if freezer paper would work as well – please let me know if you ever try it!
  • If you don’t tear your paper, you can reuse it multiple times.
  • You can fill the entire dehydrator – and should to be eco-friendly and frugal.
  • You can also put other things, like crispy nuts, in the dehydrator at the same time if you don’t have enough fruit to fill all your trays.
  • Experiment with mixing fruits and spices – yum.
  • If your dehydrator is in the basement like mine is, carry the blender to the machine, then pour. Don’t try to carry trays – even one at a time – full of poured fruit puree anywhere, but especially down lightly-colored carpeted stairs. Especially after you’ve sold the house but haven’t moved out yet. Ask me how I know this. (If you goof up this instruction, Biokleen Bac-Out plus panicky adrenaline does an amazing job of getting pureed strawberries out of lightly-colored carpet. Trust me on that one.)

How to know when it’s “done”:

  • You can peel the fruit roll off the parchment paper without any stickiness.
  • Check the very center – if your finger gets any fruit at all on it, dehydrate longer.
  • Tear the fruit leather and squeeze – if you see any moisture droplets, dehydrate longer.
  • If there’s any condensation on the inside of your storage bags in the first few hours, they’re not all the way dry.
  • If you overdry, it just becomes a bit crunchy, but the fruit rolls will never “burn” or compromise in quality. Crunchy is still tasty!

How to dehydrate yogurt
how to dehydrate yogurt

I think it’s cool that you can also dehydrate yogurt and fruit for a protein-packed, probiotic on the go snack (above)!

Make fruit rolls in the oven:

applesauce and strawberry rolls (sm)

  • Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (pictured above with strawberry and applesauce).
  • Set oven at lowest temp, no higher than 200F.
  • Fill the oven, top and bottom racks, rotating them regularly.
  • Check often, flip as necessary if possible.
  • Should take about 3-6 hours to be fully dry.
  • CAN burn in the oven, so watch closely at the end. Burnt-on-the-edges fruit rolls taste awful.
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What about Plastic?

Many people have asked me about the safety of the plastic trays (and Paraflexx sheets) for the Excalibur dehydrator (I posted a thorough Excalibur dehydrator review a few years ago). They do not contain BPA, but if you’re really concerned about plastic, I recently found a stainless steel dehydrator from Radiant Life, one of KS’s current sponsors. You can also shop there for high quality gelatin for your homemade raw yogurt (how to dehydrate yogurt rolls coming later this week!).

Read more here on how to dehydrate fruit, including apples, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, bananas, and pineapple. It’s easy to preserve and have on-the-go snacks with a dehydrator!

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24 Comments so far ↓

  • Brianna

    Awesome! My husband and I just used our dehydrator for the first time to make homemade (yucky chemical free!!) beef jerky! So excited to try these fruit rolls next!

  • Karen

    We crumble overdried frut leather and sprinkle it on yogurt, into granola, on toast, wherever. I think it might have even decorated some frosting at one time. I had a whole dehydrator full overdried. Can’t wait for the yogurt!

  • Melissa from the Blue House

    Oh awesome! Thank you for this. I just borrowed my dad’s dehydrator and this was one of the things I wanted to make with it.

  • Lindsey via Facebook

    looks yummy! thanks! i just got a dehydrator and haven’t made fruit rolls yet.

  • Ashley

    Katie–can the puree be frozen before being dehydrated? Since we’re in the middle of summer and I lack both AC and a dehydrator, I’d rather not let the oven sit on for hours : )

    Ashley Reply:

    I decided to try it anyway, as my fruit was on the verge of spoiling. I remembered a friend has a dehydrator she’ll let me borrow, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Ashley,
    I’m thinking it should work but look forward to hearing the results of the experiment! ;) Katie

    Ashley Reply:

    Katie–this was my first attempt at fruit leather (so I wouldn’t know any different) but I’d say it went just fine! There may have been a bit more moisture than if the fruit was not frozen, but that was of little consequence in my mind. If I was going to do it again I would not freeze in baggies as the biggest challenge was getting the puree from the bag to the tray without making a huge mess.

    Lynda Reply:

    You can also freeze the cut up fruit, and when you’re ready, thaw the fruit, then puree.

  • Amber

    Since you mentioned eating some fruit leather from last year, I wondered if you make enough during the summer to last for a full year? Do you eat them regularly, or just as an occasional treat? We are just getting to the end of our strawberry season, and I am wondering if I could possibly make enough to last my two kids an entire year :)

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Amber,
    We do! I make a lot, but we also ration it pretty good. It’s only allowed to be eaten out of the house, for example, and it’s often “emergency car snacks” that stay in the car. :) Katie

    Amber Reply:

    Wow! That’s awesome! So, would you be able to estimate about how much you make? I will probably make some apple fruit leather in the fall, but I am wondering how much strawberry I should make if I want it to last. More specifically, how many gallons of strawberries do you pick in a season? Thanks!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    This year I probably filled the dehydrator 3 times, 9 trays each time. We bought 4 flats of berries, which is 32 quarts…but I froze quite a few, too, maybe 2 gallons? I’ve never really worked it out! I’d say make a bunch and see how it goes, since kids and moms will ration differently in each family. :) Katie

  • Monica via Facebook

    i do this allllllllll the time :-)

  • Nidia via Facebook

    Can I make the fruit rolls from frozen strawberries?

  • Joy via Facebook

    Jess James Rush here is what you were looking for.

  • Laura via Facebook

    Haven’t made these in forever and my kids love them.

  • Catriona via Facebook

    Clara ‘Blessed’ Johnson time to use that dehydrator!!

  • Clara via Facebook

    I know right Catriona Natalia Hagley. It’s ah damn shame..lol

  • Beth via Facebook

    How did I not know you were a Michigander too? So many real foodie bloggers here!

    Thanks for this!

  • Natasha via Facebook

    Strawberry is my favorite!

  • via Facebook

    Should not be a problem Nidia Butler – just thaw at least mostly, maybe drain some juice/water if there’s a lot, blend and go! ;)

  • via Facebook

    Carrie Albright You can totally do this in the oven, too, on the lowest temp – you just have to be willing to (a) tie up your oven for a while and (b) monitor more closely because over-browned = so yucky. My mom explains how she does apple chips here, and it’s the same idea for fruit rolls, just your biggest cookie sheets and parchment paper: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2013/05/11/a-real-food-appreciation-note-to-mom-a-recipe-for-crispy-baked-apple-chips/

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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