I settle on yoyo bear treats (kind of dried fruit strings) as the best option for my kids when we’re out as they aren’t that bad when you consider the alternatives. However they don’t come cheap and I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make healthier and more cost effective versions at home.
Homemade food is always preferable. It means I can control how the food is prepared to make sure all the nutrients remain intact. The problem with most commercial fruit leathers is that the fruit is usually boiled first (and sometimes sugar is added) this makes it thick and apparently easier to dehydrate but the recipe below is easy enough without using any high temperatures. Boiling fruit destroys many of the vitamins and antioxidants which removes a lot of the value.
Another issue I have is that many companies use plastic sheets to bake their leathers – plastic can release chemical nasties into foods so this is not an ideal method. I am not a fan of anything that has been processed. Manufacturers may look clean and put pretty pictures all over their products but the words ‘natural’ and ‘additive-free’ don’t really mean anything these days and it’s whats not on the label that concerns me most. Obviously life is too short to make everything yourself but when it is this easy, its really a no-brainer.
To balance out the snack, I also sometimes add yogurt which provides some fat and protein to control the rate at which the sugar from the fruit is released. I particularly like coyo coconut yoghurt for its rich flavour and healthy fat profile.
After a couple of failed attempts (see note below) I have finally come up with a fool-proof method. Not only can I choose to use whatever I like – ie any fruits that need to be used up – it’s also a great way to incorporate fruit and veg that may be rejected in their whole form.
These are a really good after school snack, they also satisfy any sweet cravings of mine and are a quick and easy way to incorporate more portions of fruit and veg into your daily quota. These take a long time to dehydrate, but no time at all to prep. I have looked into how much it costs to have the oven on for this amount of time and its under 20p an hour at this temperature.
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