Apple-Blueberry Chia Seed Fruit Leather
Strawberries, raspberries, pear, apricot, peach, mango...really any fruit in season would work for this recipe. In fact, this recipe is so easy it only calls for two ingredients. Which doesn't sound like much of a recipe so much as a "hey, here's an idea!"
Hey, here's an idea!
I've talked about 5 Reasons You Should Be Eating Chia Seeds before. One of those reasons is that it may benefit endurance athletes by helping to sustain their energy and provide a lot of the same benefits as sports drinks, but with more nutrients and less sugar. So, I've been trying to come up with a good way to bring chia seeds along with me on long runs. As much as I love chia seeds I don't particularly love them just mixed with water (or picking them out of the front of my teeth).
Chia seeds are good. Fruit leather is good. Why not Chia Seed Fruit Leather?!
Chia seeds mixed with pureed fruit will give you natural sugars for a quick burst of energy plus all the benefits of chia seeds for long lasting energy. Once it's dehydrated, Chia Seed Fruit Leather is also very portable which was really what I was going for.
P.S. you can also pour any leftover pureed fruit and chia seed mixture into a container and put it in the freezer....HELLO! FREEZER JAM!
Like I said, this healthy and yummy recipe only calls for two ingredients: pureed fruit of your choice and chia seeds! (Depending on the kind of fruit you may also need to add a little honey and lemon juice)
I love my food dehydrator and use it for lots of things. You can purchase one here. However, you don't need a food dehydrator to make fruit leather. You can use your oven. Don't worry I'll tell you how to make it both ways.
Chia Seed Fruit Leather
- 3 cups pureed fruit (it should equal 3 cups after it's been pureed)
- 3 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 tbsp. honey (opt.)
- 2 tsp. lemon juice (if using fruit that may brown, such as apples & pears)
*Fruit combo ideas:
apple-blueberry........2 cups applesauce to 1 cup blueberry
peach-mango............1- 1/2 cups each
strawberry-banana...2 cups strawberry to 1 cup banana
pear-nectarine..........1 - 1/2 cups each
pineapple-guava.......2 cups pineapple to 1 cup guava
Wash, core, peel, seed, and whatever else is applicable to the fruit you use. For the strawberries I just cut off the green tops and rinsed them, but you could make it as simple as buying a jar of applesauce (with no added sugar) and just using that. Put the fruit in a food processor and puree along with honey or lemon juice if needed. Stir in the chia seeds.
- Dehydrator Method:
* This is the preferred method. Even if you have a small kitchen a dehydrator can be stored out of the way until in use. This method is the healthiest and most cost effective (having your oven on for hours during warm months will up your utility bill!)
Pour pureed fruit and chia seed mixture onto the plastic insert in your dehydrator. You may need two shelves, depending on the size of your dehydrator. Use a plastic spatula or spoon to spread the mixture out evenly. Set the dehydrator to 135 F (or follow directions for fruit leather for your particular model) and let it go for about 6 hours. Test to make sure it's no longer sticky, but not so dry that it cracks.
When it's done, gently peel it from the tray onto a piece of parchment paper. Cut the parchment paper and fruit leather together into strips and roll up. Store in an airtight container.
- Oven Method:
*Unless you have a confection oven with a fan this method will actually cook the fruit instead of drying it.
Set your oven temperature to as low as it will go. Some go as low as 150 others only down to 200 degrees. Just remember that the lower the temp the longer it will take, but the lower the temp the more nutrients you keep in tact. Here's a general guild to go off, but overall it's the feel that you're looking for. Just touch the top of the fruit leather with your finger. If it's sticky or indents when lightly pressed, it's not done. It needs to be dry.
- 150 F/65 C 4-5 hours
- 175 F/80 C 3-4 hours
- 200 F/95 C 2 - 2 1/2 hours
Line an 18" x 26" baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread prepared mixture onto the parchment until it's an even 1/4 inch thick, leaving a couple inches around the edge. Bake for the appropriate time, checking every couple hours. Again, it should not be sticky when done. Allow to cool, before cutting into strips and rolling up. Store in airtight container.
Grab some Chia Seed Fruit Leather on your way out the door for your Saturday morning run, toss them in your bag before a hike, or into the kids' lunchboxes. It's a healthy and yummy way to stay full and energized.