One of the key messages you hear these days is all forms count. As a dietitian, if you asked me if all forms of fruit and veggies count, I would instinctually say “yes.” But then I’d asked myself, how else would someone get fruit and veggies besides fresh, frozen or canned?
Pondering the all forms count statement, I immediately recalled a product that hadn’t been in my basket for some time – freeze-dried fruit. True freeze-dried fruit is literally just fruit; no preservatives or additives, sugar, oil or sulfur. One of my favorite brands has all sorts of options: strawberries, blueberries, cinnamon apple, mango, mixed fruit, tropical fruit, pineapple, raspberries, strawberry banana, and mixed berries. Of course you can eat them by the handful, in trail mix and on salads, but recently I’ve seen several people making jams out of the freeze-dried fruit. This is definitely a recipe I’ve pinned on my To Make Pinterest board.
Next I began to think maybe a homemade fruit snack or fruit roll up would be a form that counts. So off I went to find a recipe. There are a ton of recipes online and on Pinterest, but here is a general recipe for homemade fruit snacks, and another for fruit roll ups.
Homemade Fruit Snacks
- Heat juice and berries in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tender and soft.
- Stir in honey until combined.
- Use a Vitamix, Magic bullet or food processor to completely purée the mixture.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Whisk in the gelatin one 1 tablespoon at a time. Whisk vigorously until completely mixed avoiding any lumps. (If a lump appears, put it back in the food processor.)
- Pour the fruit mixture into an 8×8 or 9×9 dish. Keep in refrigerator until set (about 30 minutes).
- Remove from the refrigerator and cut into squares or use mini cookie cutters to create fun shapes.
Homemade Fruit Roll Ups
- 3 cups berries, peaches, etc (washed, stem removed, and halved)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (artificial sweetener or agave syrup can work too) optional
- 2 tsp lemon juice (if you are using light colored fruit – keeps it vibrant)
- 13×18 or 13×15 parchment paper (or silicone mat) and matching size pan
- Preheat oven to 150°
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir the berries until they are soft and juices are released. Add honey and juice and stir until combined.
- Pour berries into food processor and purée.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour berry mixture onto parchment lined pan. Make sure it isn’t too thin.
- Bake for 4-6 hours. Start checking the fruit leather at 4 hours. If you leave it too long it will become crunchy fruit. The fruit leather should peel away easily from the parchment. Using scissors cut into rectangles and roll them up, parchment and all.
Some recipes also experiment with spices and extracts – think peaches with almond extract and cinnamon!
Alicia Brown-Jerome MS, RD, LD
United Supermarkets / Market Street