Make your own chili-fruit leathers at home with a dehydrator and a few simple ingredients. Like fruit roll ups, they make for a great sweet, spicy snack.
Raise your hands if you enjoy spicy snacks? I know I do. Being the clear and obvious chilihead that you all know, I crave and actively seek out spicy snacks for nibbling. I often enjoy a small snack sometime after dinner while catching up on reading or my favorite television stories. Nothing too much, just a few bites to keep the hunger at bay.
While there are many said spicy snacks to choose from, I enjoy making my own at home, particularly a spicy snack that you're highly unlikely to find anywhere else.
I'm talking about Spicy Fruit Leathers.
In particular, Strawberry-Serrano Fruit Leather.
I'm sure you've tried fruit roll ups. I grew up on them as a kid, though uber sweet, somewhat sticky sheets of gooey fruit spread out into a thin, wafer-thin roll. I would tear off a piece with my teeth and let the sugary fruit melt slowly in my mouth.
Gone are the days of consuming mass amounts of sugar, though. Now I can make these snacks at home without all the added preservatives or sugars, AND with the spicy chili pepper kick I so often crave. Being spicy food lovers yourselves, I figured this would be something you'd like to try making. The only thing is, you'll need one new tool in the kitchen: A Dehydrator.
With a dehydrator, you can bring together all of your preferred ingredients, then dry them to the perfect chewy leather, fruit roll up consistency. While there are many ways to make fruit leathers, the surprising thing is that you really only need a few ingredients. In this case, all you need are strawberries, serrano peppers, honey, lemon juice and a bit of water.
Patty likes to buy a lot of strawberries for infusing water, which she drinks during the day as she is working. Sometimes I will take some of those slightly spent strawberries, mix them with other strawberries, and make a leather out of them. There is still plenty of life left in those strawberries, I believe, and I hate to see food go to waste. Works for me!
The process for making your own Strawberry-Serrano Fruit Leather is easy enough. Start by simmering all of the ingredients in a pot until the peppers soften and the fruits start to break down and release their juices. Process them in a food processor once it has cooled to form a thin jam-like consistency.
Spread the spicy fruit mixture out over dehydrator sheets or leather trays, which should come with your dehydrator (if not, you can purchase them).
Finally, dehydrate the leathers for 6-8 hours, or until the leather has set and you can lift it off the trays easily enough. There should be no moisture left in the center, so be sure to check that. You may need a knife to separate the leather from the tray if it sticks a bit too much, but I usually do not have a problem.
Give it a try and let me know how you like your spicy fruit leather!
Go Get a Dehydrator!
If you do not yet own a dehydrator, I urge you to order one up. I LOVE my dehydrators (yes, I own two) and use them all the time. They're essential for making leathers, jerky, spice blends, preserving in general and more. Here are links to the two that I personally own (Affiliate Links, my friends! FYI):
The Nesco is a smaller dehydrator that is perfect for general home use: Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator, White
The Excalibur is a larger 9-tray dehydrator that is ideal for larger batches: Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black
I use and highly recommend both of these.
The Spicy Dehydrator Book
Shout out to Page Street Publishing for working with me on the forthcoming "Spicy Dehydrator Cookbook". I will update as needed, but my book is due out in January 2018, and will include close to 100 recipes you can make with your dehydrator, including a number of sweet and spicy fruit leather recipes. I hope you will check it out!
Strawberry-Serrano Fruit Leather – Recipe
- 3 cups chopped strawberries
- 4 serrano peppers, diced
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- Add all of the ingredients to a large pot. Heat to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes, or until the fruits soften and begin to break down.
- Cool then process in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Spread the mixture over dehydrator sheets (not directly on the mesh) to ¼ inch thickness. It is best to use a spoon to spread it evenly, or slap the trays a bit down onto a counter to let the mixture spread. Use about 1 cup per sheet.
- Dehydrate at 130°F for 6-8 hours, or until the leather peels away from the tray easily. You might need to use a knife to get along the edges, as it will be tacky, but it should not stick too much.
- Flip the spicy leather and continue dehydrating another 2 hours, or until it is completely dry and there aren’t any moist spots left.
- Cool it down a bit, then roll it up. You can enjoy your fruit leather now, or wrap in plastic wrap and store in a cool, dry place. Keeps for 6 months or longer.
Makes 3 leathers.