Cooking

Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

The Source: Our Best Bites

The Promise:

Besides the fact that these taste simply amazing, you control exactly what goes in there, and I love that.  No artificial colors or flavors or preservatives, just perfectly wonderful fruit and the amount of sweetener you like.  I’m telling you; whether you’re 5 or 95, you’ll love eating fruit roll-ups!

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Ok I am with you so far because I do love fruit roll-ups. I grew up in a fruit-roll-up-less house and can never recall ever having these (or any gummies) around on a routine basis. Naturally I had to swap/beg them off my friends. So not only do I legitimately think fruit roll-ups are good, they also are like forbidden fruit. (Is that a pun if I didn’t do it on purpose?)

Notice there are no claims of this being easy. It’s not, like, advanced candy making, but there’s definitely avenue for mess ups and I made a few.

I used strawberries, a pear, and frozen raspberries for my mixture, then added honey to sweeten and some cardamom because I’m extra. The puree tasted nice, it was the correct thickness (runny enough to pour, thick enough to stay where I put it) and it made my house smell sweet and fruity while it dried over the next 9 hours. Really there’s no way to mess this up too badly unless you overcook or undercook the pans.

And I did both! Hooray for me!

The Process:

Make sure all the bits are chopped up before you dump your puree onto the baking sheet, or else you have to scrape all the chunks back up with a spoon. You guys are here for this kind of quality tip, I do hope, because this is going to be about standard.

I didn’t strain the seeds from the raspberries, and this turned out to be fine in the final product, which is good, because I’m way too lazy to add that step to the process.

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The recipe specifically directs you to use high-quality cling wrap, because it’s going in the oven and might melt. I’m too cheap to own or specifically buy for a recipe high-quality cling wrap. I used the stuff I had from the enormous Sam’s Club roll. Which maybe is high-quality cling wrap? I don’t want to cast aspersions on the good name of Sam’s Club. Anyway, it worked fine and didn’t melt or burn.

The mixture does significantly change when it’s done. It looks darker and dried out. The recipe says that it is not done until it doesn’t indent when you press in at the center and that is correct information you may want to heed.

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The strips bulge a bit as you’re rolling them, so leave some extra space at the end of your parchment paper for the strip to push onto, otherwise some is going to spill out the end. I mean you could just eat it, too. I ate about half of this as I was making it.

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What did I mess up?

I had two pans on separate racks, and the bottom pan was done first. I quickly realized it was actually overdone and the mixture was brittle. However, Our Best Bites suggested brushing a dried out mixture with some water to rehydrate it a bit, and this worked very well. I had to brush both sides for it to soften enough to cut and roll without cracking. The center turned out some ok-looking rolls, while I took all the edges and jammed them into a franken-roll.

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too dry

With the first experience in mind, I pulled the second pan a bit earlier than I might have done, and this was not the right move. The center was uncooked, and I had to leave it out of the final rolls. But the remainder of the pan was salvageable and a couple rolls turned out pretty cute!

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mushy center 😦

Promise Kept?

These are yummy and the ingredients couldn’t be more simple. If it is important to you to limit artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives, these are a perfectly acceptable analog for the store variety. Just don’t necessarily expect the kids to agree – my 4-year-old is a big thumbs down on these. (But I just talked her into trying roasted potatoes for the first time a week ago, so if your kid is more adventurous, different story.)

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Final Thoughts:

The process was straightforward and while I made some errors, the end product is fine and issues would be easily ironed out in future attempts. These kept well for at least three weeks, and remained soft and very close to the texture of the supermarket variety.

Do I think they’re worth the hassle? Probably not quite for me to make this a routine part of our snacking life (although if my daughter loved them, that might change). They also use a significant amount of energy because the oven needs to be on all day. (You can do these in a dehydrator or even leave them outside on a hot day, if that’s a concern.)And perhaps most crucially, these are a great trick to have in your tool bag if you regularly find yourself with bushels of ripe fruit that need to be used now. So line it up with the jam, pie, and quick breads. It’s something different, and different is fun!

 

 

Have a suggestion for Anna to try – recipe, craft, or project? Send me a message or leave it in the comments!

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