Strawberry and elderflower fruit leather

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Monica Shaw gives us the perfect way to preserve strawberries this summer without going down the overly-sugary jam route! Worth a try if you've got a bumper crop of any fruit this year, or if you just want a nice treat.

Are any other strawberry growers out there having a bumper year? My garden is singing with strawberries at the moment, way more than I could ever eat, freeze or smoothie-ify. Jam is an option, but I’ve been looking for something less sugary, yet equally non-perishable. Enter fruit leather!

My fellow Americans know fruit leather as “fruit roll-ups”, which when purchased from the shop contains just as much sugar as that jam I’m trying to avoid. But if you start with real fruit, purée it and dry it yourself, you’ll find the fruit needs little sugar if any. The drying process super-concentrates the fruit sugars leaving you with a naturally sweet “leather” that tastes like pure fruit and is perfect for the lunch box or for taking on long hikes.

Strawberries are perfect for this and since the elderflowers are in bloom, I thought I’d kick up my fruit leather with a little elder-injection. Best of all, you can do this in the oven (no fancy dehydrator necessary).

You can skip the elderflower in this but it does add that extra something. And feel free to sub the strawberries for any other fruit. You can do this in either an oven or a dehydrator; I’ve included instructions for both. If you live in a warm climate, you can also do this on a hot day by simply leaving the fruit to dry out in the sun!





In a medium saucepan on a low heat, cook the strawberries until they are soft and the juices are released
Tie up the elderflowers in a muslin or jelly bag and add to the strawberries. Cover, leave to cool, then place in the refrigerator and leave overnight
The next day, preheat oven to its lowest temperature setting
Remove the elderflower bundle and pour the berries into a blender. Add the honey and blitz until smooth. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Pour the berry mixture onto parchment lined pan - it should be about 3mm in thickness
Place in the oven and bake for 4-6 hours, until leather peels away easily from the parchment. Using scissors, cut into rectangles and roll them up, parchment and all
If using a dehydrator instead, follow the previous method through step 4. Spread the mixture out onto a dehydrator sheet until 3mm in thickness
Dehydrate at 50°C for 4 hours. Check the fruit leather periodically - when it peels away easily, peel it off, flip it over and dry for another 1-2 hours
Remove from dehydrator and use scissors or a pizza roller to cut it into your desired shapes

Monica Shaw's mission is to enable people to feel awesome, through food, life, work and play.

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