Fruit leather is a delicious kid-pleasing treat that is easy to make from your favorite fruits. Learn how to make fruit leather using no refined sugar and avoid store-bought fruit leathers containing artificial ingredients.
Traditional Fruit Leather
Fruit leather was invented as a traditional food storage method. Ancient people preserved ripe fruit by mashing or pureeing fruit and drying it in the sun. This easy recipe produced a healthy and tasty food that could be easily stored and transported even without refrigeration.
Today’s mass-manufactured fruit leathers have little in common with this ancient treat. First, they contain lots of ingredients: fruit from concentrate, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, malto-dextrin, artificial colors, and added flavors. The ingredients vary by the brand, but most are basically candy disguised as healthy eating.
Plum Fruit Leather
Natural fruit leather is simply pureed dried fruit. It is naturally low in fat, high in fiber, and contains the vitamins and minerals from the fruit solids. My homemade fruit leather uses plums and apples to make delicious fruit treat that contains no refined sugar.
I use wild plums to make this recipe. You can substitute domestically raised plums, peaches, pears, or even apples if you do not have access to wild plums. Never heard of wild plums? They may be available in your area! Learn more about these tasty fruits in my post about picking wild plums. You can make easy plum jelly from the same ingredients as the fruit leather.
Natural Fruit Leather Ingredients
- 1 cup wild plum pulp (learn to make plum pulp ) or 1 ¼ cup domestic plums washed, pitted and diced (leave on the skin)
- 1 ¼ cup diced apple, washed, cored, and diced (leave on the skin)
- ½ cup water or unsweetened apple juice (I use water, you can use apple juice if you like sweeter fruit leather)
How to Make Fruit Leather with No Refined Sugar
1.Combine plums or plum pulp, apples, and water or juice in a saucepan. Heat and stir over medium heat until apples are easy to mash with the back of a spoon. Approximately 15 minutes.
2. Puree mixture until smooth with a food processor or stick blender.
3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Spread pureed fruit on the parchment paper until it is about ¼ inch thick.
5. Place the fruit leather in a 180 degree oven for 8-10 hours. The fruit leather is done when it is no longer sticky to the touch and easily peels away from the parchment paper. (If you have a convection setting on your oven or a dehydrator, you can use it to speed up the drying process.) I generally put mine in the oven at night and take it out in the morning.
6. Cool the fruit leather to room temperature. Peel from paper and slice into 2×4 inch pieces.
7. Store your fruit leather at room temperature or in the refrigerator in an air tight container.
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Thanks for this recipe. I have an overbearing mutant plum tree and I’m always looking for ways to use up an overabundance of plums
Darn! I left mine in the oven for 8 hours (overnight), and it was burnt when I got up. Not inedible, but more black than pink/purple, and very thin & crispy and hard to chew. I have some pulp left in the fridge, will cook the next batch a shorter time. Wonder if I spread mine a little too thin or if my oven runs a little warm (or both)? Will check it at 4, 5, and 6 hours next round, to try to get it before this happens. I’m still really excited about trying it (and that I have enough plums to try again) – thank you for this recipe…just wanted to add a note that it might be wise to check it a little sooner, especially the first time making it!
Hi Brin, Thanks so much for this post. Am going to pick up some wild plums tomorrow and can’t wait to make the fruit leather. About how long will it keep in the fridge? Can it be frozen Thanks so much!!!
It keeps for several months in the fridge or freezer!
I just made the purée and am wondering if the temp is 180 Celsius or Fahrenheit. Thanks!
So glad to have found your blog! I had never even eaten a wild plum until yesterday, and suddenly I find our family are the owners of over 10 wild plum trees! Can’t wait to make this and your jam, too! Have you ever imprinted designs on the fruit leather? I think this might be fun for my kids, but I wonder at which point to pull the leather from the oven…
Oh, cool! I’ve never tried designs but I have seen some cool designs made by swirling different types of fruit blends before dehydrating. Good luck and jealous of those plum trees… I have 3 apple and 2 cherry but no wild plum!
Just made a batch of wild plum leather. Do you have any Nutrition Facts on this recipe. They were included with Wild Plum Jam and Jelly. I’m concerned because my son is a diabetic with kidney problems. We’re waiting on a kidney.
If made with fruit juice and cut into 20 pieces: 71 calories, 0.4 g fat, 164.5mg sodium, 16.8g carbohydrate, 3.2 g sugar, 0.4 g protein (check the nutrition on the juice, it can vary)
If made with water and cut into 20 pieces: 14 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.3mg sodium, 3.6g carbohydrate, 3.1 g sugar, 0.1 g protein
Oh, how happy I am to find this recipe! I have a wild plum tree in an empty lot behind my house and this year it has more plums than ever. I have already made 2 pints of jam and 3 pints of plum butter. I am now going to make some jelly and fruit leather thanks to your post. I hate using refined sugar if I don’t have to! Thank you again!
I hope you like the results, Cindi!
What great timing! I just picked a bunch of plums off a cultivated tree we have and I think that when it stops raining I am going to go get wild plums out of a plum forest we have next to the old chicken coop. This is the first year that we have noticed a good crop of plums and I am excited to try your recipes. I like the idea of mixing the plum with a little apple for the leather.
And Bren how do you keep your oven so clean. I could never photograph the inside of mine for a blog post. Maybe I should Polk around the site for all natural oven cleaners?!
Yum, Amy! It sounds like you have a great crop of plums and are in for some tasty jelly and fruit leather. Mixing the wild plums with a little apple makes the wild plum fruit leather a little sweeter without adding any sugar. I hope you like it! Thanks for the oven compliment too! 🙂 I don’t do too much to clean the oven, I run the self clean cycle every few months and try to prevent spills and splatters by covering dishes or placing the dish on top of a cookie sheet. It also probably helps that I make homemade naan in a very hot oven frequently.