Probiotic-rich fruit leather
Fruit leather that’s good for you? Not just low-sugar but that actually has probiotic benefits? C’mon!!
Yup, this mom’s-dream-come-true actually exists and has become a favorite travel treat for our toddler. And today, I get to share the recipe with you.
Fermentation falls into the category of food preparation that I call “better than naked” – it’s one of the few things we do to food that actually enhances its nutritional value. How handy that it also preserves the food and makes it taste extra yummy?
The biggest challenge with fermentation is that for most people it’s totally foreign – and thus scary. I learned about fermentation when I first started studying nutrition but I’ll confess it took me a couple of years to work up the guts to actually try it. Now it’s a regular part of our food prep and there’s always something brewing in our pantry.
And then a new resource crossed my desk: Oh Lardy’s Guide to Fermenting Fruits and Vegetables. I gotta be honest, my first response was less than enthusiastic: Oh look. Another resource on fermentation. Whoop-de-doo. And then I started perusing the book. Great explanations, delicious recipes that are so simple and straightforward, lots of starting points for making your own fermentation experiments. Even as someone who’s been fermenting foods for a while I felt myself relax and think, “Wow, this all feels so manageable!”
Tamara and Kelly – your fermentation guides – have done an incredible job of simplifying the process, explaining the basics, and giving you the tools to ferment all manner of veggies, fruit, drinks, and condiments. I was completely impressed and wished I’d had this resource when I just started out. Heck, I refer to it all the time myself and I’ve been fermenting foods for years now!
They were very generous to let me share the following recipes with you – just a sampling of what you’ll find in the book. It’s a total steal for only $9.99. Grab your very own copy here and get fermenting!
Fermented Berries and Fruit Leather
Makes 1 pint
- 2 cups berries (any berries will work. Nourishing Traditions recommends against strawberries as they are too acidic.) [Margaret’s note: I’ve tried this with both fresh and frozen berries – they both work well!]
- 2 T organic cane sugar (or sucanat, honey, maple syrup)
- ½ t culture starter or 2 T whey (the “useful by-product” in this recipe)
- ¼ t sea salt
- Filtered water
Put the berries in a pint-size mason jar. Pack them tightly with your clean hand or a wooden spoon.
In a bowl, mix culture starter / whey, a few tablespoons of water, sugar, and salt. Add the mixture to berries.
Fill jar with filtered water, leaving 1 ½ inches of headspace. Press down with fist or wooden spoon to be sure the water has filled all the air pockets. Add more water if necessary. Be sure the berries are below the waterline, using a weight if necessary.
Put lid on and leave at room temperature for 1-2 days.
Store in refrigerator and use within 1-2 months.
Drain a jar of fermented berries or other fruit. Reserve the liquid for other use.
Pour pureed fruit mixture onto lined dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 90 degrees for 6-10 hours. You can also use an oven at the lowest setting for a few hours, but the beneficial bacteria will most likely not survive the heat. Time will depend on thickness of mixture.
You will know it is dry when it is no longer sticky and peels easily from tray.
Cut into strips, squares, whatever shapes you like! [Margaret’s note: I used parchment paper to help pull the fruit leather from the dehydrator trays, and then just kept it there to roll and cut into strips – travel ready!]
Store at room temperature in an airtight container. Will keep indefinitely.
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