I just finished reading all the back issues of
MOTHER EARTH NEWS—it took a couple of months but I certainly did
enjoy them—and I don't remember seeing a fruit leather recipe. Thought you might like one.
The leather is lightweight, chewy and sweet, a good candy
substitute. It would be fine for trips (journeys), for
backpacking or just for a snack. You can make it of almost
any fruit. I've used pear, apple, prune, and plum and want
to try banana, cherry, apricot, blackberry, and strawberry
in the future.
I wash, core, or pit my home-grown fruit and make it into a
sauce in the blender (with just enough water added to keep
the pulp from burning). You can spice the puree if you want. Apple butter flavoring is good.
Spread the pulp on a greased baking sheet, set the oven at
150° or as low as it will go and put the pan in with
the oven door propped open. Leave it there several hours or
until the fruit is tacky to the touch. Then turn the mass
over and bake it some more until the second side is also
tacky. Let the sheet stand overnight on a cake rack so that
the fruit can dry out even more. (In a hot climate like
Arizona's, you can dehydrate the sauce outdoors in the
Next morning, dust the leather on both sides with
cornstarch. Tear off a sheet of wax paper a little bigger
than the layer of fruit and roll both up together. Tuck in
the ends of paper, fasten them with masking tape and date
the package. Store the rolls in gallon jars (the kind cafes
get their salad dressing in).
Fruit leather will last a long time. If you
misplace the container—as I did once for, um... three years—chances are the fruit will still be perfectly good when you find it again. Mine didn't
stay around long after that, though.
My daughter made apple juice the other day and used the
apple pulp to make leather, a good idea, I thought. I
have a Saftborn juicer that steams the liquid out
of fruit. The result doesn't have to be frozen, as raw
juice does. I just bottle it in recycled beer bottles, cap
it, and set it on the shelf.
Oh, yes ... I also want to give you a recipe for sauerkraut
I found in an 1850 cookbook:
Wash and drain cabbage, and shred it to fill jars almost to
the top. Don't pack too tightly. Work out
the air with a silver knife. Place one teaspoon
each of white sugar, table salt, chopped onion and
dill on top of each jar. Fill the containers to the brim
with boiling water, screw on the tops tightly and turn the
jars upside down to make sure no air bubbles are present.
Let the cabbage stand six weeks before use.
This is called "Pickled Cabbage," really. It's not as
"krauty" as sauerkraut. Esther Dickey says in her book,
Passport to Survival that corn, peas, shelled lima
beans, carrots, cauliflower, beets, turnips, etc., can also
be preserved this way. I haven't tried them, but the
cabbage sure is good.
Well, I guess I've taken enough of your time ... although
I'd appreciate a design for a wood splitter—
not an axe—which a woman could use. Sure do
enjoy the good info in MOTHER EARTH NEWS. I've thought for a long time
that these ole-timey things should be put down and not
Thanks, Dorothy, It's time I ran another
article on fruit leather (since canning jars are getting
so scarce). However, if you'll check "When to Pick Persimmons and How to Preserve Them," you'll
find instructions for air and sun drying persimmon pulp
And hey! I believe that Garden Way Publishing sells plans for a homemade log
splitter. —MOTHER EARTH NEWS.