When it comes to feeding your children, you may have to sneak fruit in. This is a perfect recipe to help you provide a healthy snack for your children. It has been extracted from a book titled Mila’s Meals: The Beginnings & The Basics, by Catherine Barnhoorn. This is a valuable award winning collection of nourishing wholefood recipes and food ideas for your child’s first year (and for the rest of the family, too) – free from gluten, refined sugar, dairy and artificial additives.
Barnhoorn promotes the idea of full mind-body nutrition, with an awareness of food intolerance, as an imperative for optimal growth and future health. She believes a strong digestion allows for greater absorption of nutrients and a stronger immune system.
We liked this homemade fruit leather as it is a great no-mess, no-fuss snack food that is a very sneaky way to get the vegetables in. It is also:
• superfood • vegetarian • vegan • egg-free • grain-free • great for adults • great for lunchboxes
It’s better to make it yourself because most fruit leathers (rolls) available in the supermarkets have added sugars or high-fructose corn syrup, GM vegetable oils and trans fats as ingredients, as well as being covered in preservatives – please read the labels. Click here to find out how you can lower your blood sugar levels safely. This type of fruit leather can be eaten by children from the age of 12 months.
(Makes 2 trays/20 rolls)
Barnhoorn was inspired to create healthy recipies for her young daughter (hence the name of the book) as like many young toddlers she was against eating anything that looked like a vegetable.
What you will need:
- 2 cups raw fruit, or fruit combination of your choice (eg berries, banana, mango, peach, nectarine, pear, pineapple)
- 1 cup cooked apple or pear (or Mila’s Meals fermented apple sauce)
- 1 cup cooked sweet potato, butternut or beetroot (or a combination of these veggies)
- 1 Tbsp moringa (optional)
- 1 Tbsp baobab powder, or maca (optional)
- 1 tsp green powder (blend of chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass and barley grass) (this is optional)
- 1 cup water or herbal tea
- 2 Tbsp ground chia seeds (optional)
- Honey, maple syrup or stevia to taste (optional)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
Method of preparation:
1. Wash the fruit thoroughly. De-stem, pit, peel, etc, as necessary.
2. Place the raw fruit, cooked apple/pear, cooked vegetables and super foods in a blender and blend.
3. Check the consistency. If it is too thick to pour, add a little water or herbal tea until a pouring consistency is reached. If it is too thin, add fruit that has a lower water content, such as banana, or add ground chia seeds (one tablespoon at a time).
4. Check the taste. If it is too tart, add your sweetener of choice until the desired sweetness is reached. Keep in mind that the flavors will intensify as they dehydrate. If you are using fruit that discolors (such as apples and bananas), add a little lemon juice to the mixture. Be sure not to add too much, as this will affect the flavor – about 2 tsp per 2 cups of mixture should be sufficient.
5. Spread the mixture evenly onto greased, solid dehydrator trays to a thickness of approximately 0,5cm. If you do not have solid sheets, you can line mesh sheets with parchment paper. Do not use wax paper or tin foil. Dehydrate at 45-55°C for 10 hours, then tip the mixture onto a mesh sheet and continue drying for another hour.
6. Check on the leather to make sure it is not getting too dry (crunchy). If it peels away from the sheet easily, it is dry. Remember that under-dried fruit will not keep.
7. Allow the leather to cool; remove from the sheets, cut into long strips and roll up.
8. Store in a glass jar in a cool, dark place for up to one month, or in the freezer for up to a year.
Make fruit leather in an oven:
If you do not have a dehydrator, you can dry the fruit leather in the oven. Turn the oven on at its lowest setting and use the shelf furthest away from the heating element. Line a baking sheet with greased parchment paper and spread the mixture as above. When drying the leather, leave the oven door open slightly to allow for air ow. Drying times will vary according to your oven and the ambient humidity, but with an oven set at 50°C, it will take approximately 6 hours.
Who is the Catherine Barnhoorn
Catherine Barnhoorn is the author of Mila’s Meals: The Beginnings & The Basics, a collection of nourishing whole-food recipes and food ideas for your child’s first year (and for the rest of the family, too) – free from gluten, refined sugar, dairy and artificial additives. She believes disease begins in the gut. She promotes full mind-body nutrition, with an awareness of food intolerance, as an imperative for optimal growth and future health. A strong digestion allows for greater absorption of nutrients and a stronger immune system.