Dried fruit and fruit leathers are great on-the-go snacks and you wouldn’t believe how easy they are to make. For me, they are always a little too sweet. Dried fruit can be too much sugar for little ones, too who are particularly fond of this snack. One way to make your dried fruit snack a little healthier and cut down on the sugar is to culture the fruit before you dehydrate it. This also turns your snack into a source of probiotic goodness!!
You’ll need a dehydrator for this recipe. Dehydrators are a great addition to any real-food kitchen and can help you create all sorts of delights like kale chips, jerky, crackers – to name a few. Dehydrators can be a major or minor purchase, depending on the brand and model you decide on. I bought a relatively inexpensive one for under $50 (here). If you are looking for a bigger investment, I have my sights set on this Xcaliber model.
Cultured Cherry Fruit Leather:
2 tablespoons of whey or 1/2 packet of starter culture mixed in 1/4 cup water
1 lb of fresh pitted cherries or reserved cherries from Cherry Syrup
Blend the cherries in a blender until smooth. Add just a little water if necessary. Pour the pureed cherries into a quart mason jar (or equivalent). Stir in the whey or dissolved starter culture. Secure the lid and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours, if using fresh cherries or 48 hours if using reserved, sweetened cherries from the Cherry Syrup. The cherry puree will have a somewhat sour taste and be slightly bubbly.
Pour the cultured cherry puree onto the dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 115 degrees for 18-24 hours. Peel the fruit leather off the tray and store in an air tight container.
Let me know how you like this recipe and leave a comment below!