Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's ALMOST Strawberry season!!! Two For One Strawberry Recipe

Mmm... Nothing beats the smell of 8 clam shells of fresh strawberries sitting on the kitchen counter!  But, what to do with them all?!  

A sweet friend of mine, Kelly Makavage always comes to our gatherings with all sorts of hand-crafted treats and I am inspired each time she comes with something new!  One time at the cabin, she brought home made fruit leathers!  Yum... they were SO GOOD!  
With all these strawberries, I thought it was a perfect chance to attempt these sweet, no sugar added treats (with a little, over-the-phone help from Kelly)! ***A note of caution- this process takes two days to complete***


Let me just begin with a little plug- have you heard of Bountiful Baskets Produce Co-op?  If you have not, you should look into it!  For $15 each week my family enjoys all the fruits and veggies we can eat!  Almost every week I end up with a few apples, oranges or a pineapple left from the week before.  These build up over time, and then I decide I better do something with them. The Strawberry Applesauce is the first step to our end result and an awesome by-product!
I took 4 green apples from my surplus, peeled and cored them.  Cut them into slices and put them in my crock pot.
Oh, I forgot to mention while I was working with the apples I was soaking my strawberries (4 clam shells)- check out how much dirt comes of them!!! I highly recommend soaking your strawberries in cool water for a few minutes before eating. I don't think that just rinsing has the same affect.
After I soaked my strawberries I cut the tops off, cut them in half and tossed them into my crock pot on top of the apples.

All those strawberry tops have a TON of nutrients, and you've already made sure they are clean.  DON'T THROW THEM AWAY!!! Put them in a freezer zip lock and freeze to put in smoothies when you are out of your fresh greens!  I promise you won't taste anything but strawberry!
Now, you are ready to hurry up and wait.  Turn your crock pot on low and let it do its thing for the rest of the day (8-12 hours).  Every few hours take a potato masher and squish everything around a bit.  It will help the fruit break down.  Once you notice the consistency of applesauce, it's DONE!

Strawberry Applesauce Uses:

-Eat is as is (Madisyn LOVES IT!)
-Mix with plain Greek Yogurt for a little treat
-Use as a replacement for oil or butter in most baking recipes (this goes for all applesauce- but strawberry will just make it yummier!)
-Mix with your steel cut oats for a yum-o breakfast!

It freezes well- but feel free to keep it in the fridge for up to a week.

Strawberry Apple Fruit Leather

I let my sauce chill in the fridge overnight.  The next morning, I turned my oven on to 170 (the lowest my oven would go- if your's goes lower set it around 140).  Then I lined a cookie sheet (with sides) with Saran Wrap.  Seems like it would melt in the oven right?  Well, the heat is low enough that its fine.
Use a ladle and spoon a few ladle fulls of sauce into the pan and spread evenly over the surface.  You want it to  be about 1/4 inch thick in every spot.  If the sauce is different thicknesses in places it will not dehydrate evenly, so please pay close attention.
Now we wait, AGAIN... for up to 12 hours.  It depends on the air circulation and temperature in your oven.  I checked mine every hour or so and you can see the progress.
After 4 hours you can see that the corners are starting to look a lot like fruit leather!
After 6 hours mine was done!  The edges were dehydrated a bit more than the center- but all the liquid is gone!  
I pulled the baking sheet out of the oven.  I lifted the Saran Wrap out of the cookie sheet and let it cool on my cutting board for about half an hour.  Next, I used a pizza cutter and rolled through both the leather and the plastic to create strips.  Roll up the strips and you have a home made fruit roll up!

You can store the fruit leather in a zip lock bag or a mason jar with a lid for up to a month!


Have a great rest of your week!

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1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is amazing information! I've never made a fruit leather before. And I can't believe how much dirt comes off strawberries! Thanks so much for linking up to Give Me The Goods Monday. Hope to see you again this coming Monday ;)
    Jamie @


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