Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Kiddie Crack

The countdown is on and I'm in full on gift making mode! Over the next few days, I'll post about some of the projects I'm working on.

This year, all the children in my life will be getting homemade fruit roll ups. Now I know that might sound a little lame, kinda like giving out raisins at Halloween, but trust me, this stuff is hardcore kiddie crack. The little ankle biters go nuts for it. My neighbours upstairs have two young children who love my fruit roll ups. The boy especially. Whenever he comes down to my place I see him look over at the pantry shelves, then at me, back to the pantry shelves and then to me again, before he finally asks, "Do you have any of dos fwoot wollups?" And if I do, his eyes get saucer big as I take the jar off the shelf and pass him a few pieces.

If you have a dehydrator, the stuff is a cinch to make. All you need is fruit. I buy a lot of fruit when it's in season and freeze it. But here's a tip that I also make use of a lot. The grocery store near my house has a sale rack for expired, bruised or just starting to go off fruits and veg, that will get thrown out if someone doesn't take them home. It's super cheap and the produce is usually in perfectly good shape for my purposes. Last week I got two bags of mangoes and organic pears for $2 each.

You don't have to cook the fruit. You can whir it through a blender as is if you like, but I like to cook my fruit down a bit. I find the final flavour and texture to be much nicer that way. If the fruit is really tart, I'll add some honey to sweeten it, but most of the time it's sweet enough on it's own. You can add spices and flavours to the fruit too if you like. Vanilla, cinnamon, ginger etc. (Pumpkin pie roll ups with pumpkins or butternut squash, with all the spices is delicious!) Just go easy. The flavours really concentrate in the dehydrating process. I tend to keep things simple for the kids though and don't usually add much extra flavouring.

Once the fruit is soft enough, I puree it with my hand blender. This is peach, apple and mango.

Next I spread the puree out about 1/4 inch thick, onto special sheets on the tray and into the dehydrator they go!
12-18 hours later, it looks like this.

All rolled up.
I cut the roll ups into bite size pieces.
Jarred. You can certainly use other containers, especially if you don't want to give glass to children (for the younger children I will use a safer material), but the roll ups do keep best in an airtight glass jar. Of course they probably won't last long enough to spoil, so feel free to be creative with your containers.
Wrapped and ready to gift.
If you have a dehydrator, this is an easy, affordable gift that is quick to make and your recipients are guaranteed to love it. It's a sweet but healthy treat that makes for a nice alternative to all the candy and sugary things at this time of year.


Debbie said...

I love the sound of fruit roll-ups, but can you get the same result by using a oven on a low temp?

Amber said...

Yes Debbie, the internet tells me that you can indeed make it in the oven. :)