Fruit leather is fruit pulp that is dried to form a naturally sweet, confection-like food that will keep in good condition for one year or more. Fruit leather can be made from almost any fruit or any combination of fruits.
Ingredients (makes 4 pieces, 10 x 15 inches):
8 pounds apricots, peaches, or nectarines, pitted
1½ cups pineapple juice
¼ cup honey, or more to taste
2 teaspoons almond extract (optional)
Cornstarch or arrowroot for dusting
1. In a large, heavy nonaluminum pot, combine the fruit and pineapple juice. Cover and cook over low heat until soft. Pour the fruit into a sieve set over a bowl. Drain the fruit well, lifting it from the sides of the sieve to let all the juice run out freely. The more juice strained out, the quicker the process of leather making. (Can or freeze the juice for later use, or drink it fresh.) Put the drained fruit through a food mill or a coarse-meshed sieve to remove the skins. Sweeten with the honey and add the almond extract (if using). The pulp should be as thick as apple butter or more so.
2. On lightly oiled baking sheets or on baking sheets lined with freezer paper or plastic wrap, spread out the fruit pulp so that it is ¼ inch thick. If it's much thicker than this, it will take very long to dry. Place the baking sheets in an oven or a food dryer. If using an oven, turn the control to warm (120 degrees) and leave the oven door slightly open to allow moisture to escape. (The pulp should dry in about 12 hours in the oven.)
3. When the leather is dry enough to be lifted or gently pulled from the baking sheets, place it on wire racks so that it can dry on both sides. When all the stickiness has disappeared, dust lightly with cornstarch. Then stack in layers with freezer paper, waxed paper, or foil between each layer. Cover with freezer paper, waxed paper, or foil and store in a cool dry place.
For apple leather, use eight pounds of apples, and apple cider instead of pineapple juice. Omit the almond extract and add a bit of cinnamon if desired. Before cooking the apples, core them, cut them into large chunks, and coarsely shred them in a food processor. Cover and cook over low heat until soft.
Adapted from The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook