The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to make peach leather

Ripe peachStep 1: Call up Mom.  There's a knack to cutting up wormy fruit, and chances are your maternal helper will make the work go three times as fast.  Bribe her with less wormy peaches and other garden produce.

Step 2: Prepare the peaches.  Unless you bought your peaches from a commerical orchard, chances are they need some bad spots cut out.  Our peaches are the worst case scenario since our oriental fruit moth infestation means that over half the fruits had rotten, wormy centers.  The quick and easy way to deal with troubled fruit is to cut them in half and scoop out the rotten centers with a spoon.  Slice off the skin last in this case, or first if your peaches are pristine.

Puree peaches for peach leatherStep 3: Puree the raw peaches in a food processor.

Step 4: Add honey to taste.  Honey gives the finished leather pliancy and helps preserve the peach puree as it dries.  We added almost a cup of honey to about a gallon of fruit puree --- use your own judgement here.

Step 5: Pour the puree and honey mixture onto cookie sheets.  The official method of making fruit leather involves spreading your puree on skins of saran wrap, but we don't Shaking a pan of peach pureekeep that kind of disposable in the house.  Cookie sheets work fine as long as you don't mind your finished leather getting bent out of shape for storage.

Step 6: Spread the puree to about 1/8 inch thick.  At first, we tried spreading the peach mush with spoons and butter knives, then Mom had the great idea of just jiggling the pan.  The moist peach mixture quickly settled out across the entire surface.

Drying peach leather in a carStep 7: Dry the fruit leather as quickly as possible.  We haven't built our solar dehydrator yet, so last time I dried our fruit leather by moving it between our east-facing sunny window (in the morning) and our west-facing sunny window (in the afternoon.)  Mom had the great idea of drying the leather inside Joey's truck, which seems to be working even better.  You need hot temperatures around 100 F or higher to dry the leather before it ferments and molds.  Maximum drying time should not exceed two and a half days.

Peach leatherStep 8: Scrape the fruit leather off the trays with a spatula.  Depending on how much moisture is left in your leather, it may peel off, or rumple up as shown in my pictures.  I prefer the slightly wetter leather even though it's less pretty.

Step 9: Store your peach leather.  Fruit leather will last at room temperature for about a month, but I'm planning to use the peaches as a supplement to our winter fruit.  In the freezer, fruit leather should last about a year.

Our homemade chicken waterer never spills or fills with poop.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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You might try using parchment paper, near the wax paper and seran wrap in the grocery store to line the cookie sheets. I use it for a multitude of purposes, the most for lining cookie sheets for cooking cookies. No oil, butter, shortening needed.
Comment by Sheila Mon Aug 16 23:57:47 2010
It's a good idea, but parchment paper is just as disposable as saran wrap. Anything in that part of the store doesn't go in my cart!
Comment by anna Tue Aug 17 09:43:06 2010

If you boiled the pureeded peaches for a short while to kill bacteria and maybe deactivate spores before decanting them onto the cookie sheets, the drying would go faster and the end product might last longer.

BTW, you might want to look at silicone bakeware. Doesn't stick and is easy to clean. Lasts a long time and is chemically inert under normal circumstances.

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Aug 17 13:44:53 2010

I'm sure boiling would help, but the whole reason I'm making fruit leather is to save the fresh fruit taste. I've got some sort of hangup --- cooked fruit doesn't make me as happy as fresh fruit. :-) So far, fruit leather is the only kind of preserved fruit that pushes my fresh fruit buttons.

Mark got me some non-stick cookie sheets for fruit leather part 2, and it does let me peel the leather off a little better. Still, at the moist stage I like to stop drying at, I have to use a spatula.

Comment by anna Tue Aug 17 13:55:42 2010
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