How to Make Homemade Fruit Leathers with your Gear Juicer or Vitamix

Homemade fruit leathers with your juicer are an easy, healthy snack that’s not just for kids!

When I was a kid, I loved the fruit roll-ups my mom would buy me from the supermarket. I remember them being super sweet, fun colors and some even had cut out shapes so I could play with my food. Truth is, the coloring, corn syrup and natural flavoring probably wasn’t good for my growing body!

Fast forward quite a few years later…I no longer eat those fruit roll ups from the store anymore. I now make my own homemade fruit leathers for my family. And just because I’m an adult, doesn’t mean I still can’t enjoy them like a kid. Homemade fruit leathers happen to be great snacks for work or a shopping, sports, or camping outing (to name a few).

There are a few ways you can make homemade fruit leathers. You can make them in a dehydrator, the oven, or sun-dry them. I like the dehydrating option the best. It allows you to control the finished product and heat much better, allowing the full nutrients to remain in tact. They are essentially a raw food product.

fruit leathers

While sun drying can work okay, it’s not my favorite option because bugs can get stuck to the mixture before its dry, and putting plastic on top could make chemicals leach into the food. You can lay a food net on top, however, it will block some of the suns rays making it longer to dehydrate. But if all you have to work with is the sun, then by all means, try it!I don’t favor the oven method only because it’s easy to by mistake make them fruit “chips” which is okay, too, I suppose.

No matter how you decide to dry them, the first process is all the same. Blend the fruit, and or fruit pulp mixture for an even consistency.

Making the fruit leather mixture

When making the fruit leather, keep in mind that almost ANYTHING in the fruit world works. You can use dried fruit or fresh fruit. If you start out with dried fruit, add some water and honey if desired. If you start out with fresh fruit, do not add water. And if all you have is pulp, definitely add some water and honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or brown rice syrup. You have so many options. You want the fruit mixture to have a heavy pudding like consistency. You also can add things in like coconut flakes or nut slivers.

A lot of people suggest cooking the fruit for homemade fruit leathers. I don’t do this because I prefer to eat foods in their raw state whenever possible for the maximum amount of nutrients. I also feel like cooking the fruit adds and extra step in the kitchen. Anything that takes more time is not for me.

Sweetening the fruit leather

There are a number of options besides for sugar to sweeten your leather. If you want the healthiest fruit roll, try these below. I find that any of these add to the gummy texture that most of us enjoy in a fruit leather.

Agave syrup
Brown rice syrup
Maple syrup
Dates (fresh or reconstituted with water and processed through the juicer)

Blending vs your juicer for homemade fruit leathers

When making your homemade fruit leathers, you can use your gear juicer or a high powdered blender like the Vitamix. If you have a regular blender, opt to use your gear juicer. It will just turn out better.

Once you’ve made the mixture, process it through your gear juicer that is prepped for the homogenization function. For most gear juicers, this means using a blank plate instead of the mesh plate.

Dehydrating the fruit leather

After you’ve processed the fruit and sweetened to your taste, pour an even thin layer on a teflex sheet, wax paper or plastic wrap to put into your dehydrator.

I enjoy the Excalibur dehydrator for all of my dehydrating needs. It took me a long time to get up the guts to buy one, but I’ve never looked back. The price was comparative to that of a gear juicer. I’ve made flax crackers, raw cookies & breads. I’ve even dried my herbs from the garden and leftover fresh fruit for the winter. It is one of the only rectangular dehydrators I know of, and has large trays to accommodate a good amount of food. For watery items like fruit leathers, you may purchase a teflex sheet from the company.

If you don’t have an Excalibur, any dehydrator will do. You’ll need to either put down plastic wrap or wax paper (I think plastic is better and easier) making sure not to cover the air flow vent that is usually placed in the center of round dehydrators.

When dehydrating the fruit leather, you want to keep it at a temperature around 110 to 125. I prefer to keep it around 110-115 so that it doesn’t kill all the nutrients. I want the maximum amount of nutrients left in my finished fruit roll. Many people will recommend a higher temperature, but this is why I don’t follow that advice!

It usually takes approximately 12-16 hours to properly dehydrate a fruit roll. You want it to be a little sticky and a little pliable but not dried so much that you have a big fruit chip!

If you are able, check on the fruit roll after 12 hours. The average time for my Excalibur to dehydrate rolls seem to be right around 14 hours.

When it's done, you should be able to peel it off of the teflex or plastic wrap without it being really sticky. It should be well formed.

Cutting the fruit leather

You really want to try to cut the fruit leather while it’s still a little warm. It’s easier this way. You also can roll it up at this time for storage. When it cools, it’s harder to cut and to form rolls.

Get a heavy straight edged knife or pizza cutter and press firmly while cutting into 2 inch strips. A good idea is to cut it into curvy strips or cut shapes out for the kids using cookie cutters or free-hand it. For example, make a strawberry Christmas wreath or a raspberry-apricot cupcake cut out for a birthday!

Storage of your fruit roll

To store my fruit rolls I either put them in a glass or plastic sealed container or roll them in plastic wrap so they are “individually sealed.” This works well for travel. In fact, I do slip some of these into my purse on occasion.

Some dried fruit leather recipe options:

Apricot fruit leather

1 cup of dried apricots½ cup of water

Blend together and spread evenly onto a teflex dehydrator sheet or oven sheet pan.

Let dehydrate for about 14-16 hours

You can make this same recipe with prunes, raisins or cranberries. Add a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup for sweetness.

Some fresh homemade fruit leathers recipes (my preferred way of making them):

Banana Homemade Fruit Leathers

5-6 ripe bananas

Process through the juicer with the blank plate and spread evenly on a teflex sheet or plastic for dehydrating.

Dehydrate about 14-16 hours at 110-115 degrees. This simple recipe, hands down, turns out the best fruit roll ever. There is no need to add a sweetener when using bananas in a fruit roll. It provides a natural sweetness.

Strawberry-Banana Homemade Fruit Leathers

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups of strawberries

Process through the juicer with the blank plate and spread evenly on a teflex sheet or plastic for dehydrating.

Dehydrate about 14-16 hours at 110-115 degrees. I don’t think there is a need to add any sweetener to this recipe.

Making Raspberry Peach Homemade Fruit Leathers

I decided to make a raspberry peach fruit roll to demonstrate. When these were done my husband and I devoured them! The raspberry seeds give a great look and texture. I think that they might make a good dessert snack for our next party.

The juicer I am using in these pictures is the Champion Gear Juicer.

Learn more about the Champion Juicer that can be used to make homemade fruit leathers, sorbets, baby food and banana ice cream

With the Champion Juicer, you need to replace the juicing screen with the blank plate so it can homogenize.

blank plat

Then assemble the juicer like normal, and process about 1 cup of raspberries and 2 cups of peaches through the juicer.

Add about a tablespoon of honey and mix with a spoon until all combined.

sorbet with champion juice
fruit pure

Now you'll want to pour it onto the dehydrator sheet, and spread it thin, but not so thin that you can see through to the sheet (i.e. no holes).

fruit roll mixtur
smoothing out fruit rol

Now you place it in the dehydrator, until it is done....14 hours later.

Cut it into strips with a sharp knife and roll into fruit rolls!

Can you see the little texture the raspberry seeds give the roll? The off colored roll to the left is a banana leather. I only had one banana but it was enough to make one roll.

dehydrating fruit rol
fruit rol
cutting fruit rol
homemade fruit roll

If you are considering juicers that have different functions to make fruit rolls and more.....

If you already have a gear juicer you probably know you can do this, and for those that are looking to get one with this function, here are the recommended juicers for making leathers, nut butters, sorbets and more:

  • Single Gear Juicers (excluding the upright Hurom Slow Juicer) or
  • Twin Gear Juicers
  • Consider the Samson 6 in 1, The Champion, or The Green Star
  • The Vitamix also works well to make fruit rolls
  • Check out the Champion Juicer
  • Make banana ice cream with your juicer
  • If you're interested in a great dehydrator, the excalibur is the one I'm using in these pictures. It has flat trays (not round akward ones) and is one of the best models out there!

    Here's where you can get the Excalibur Food Dehydrator

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