Time to tap into your inner child and get down with some homemade fruit leathers, or as my son so lovingly calls them, fruit roll-ups.
You cannot believe what a cinch these are to make—pick your flavor, get some ripe fruit, puree it, cook it down and then spread it onto a baking sheet and bake it low and slow for a few hours—and, done!
Of course if I left it up to Cole, the fruitarian in the house, he would just eat this for lunch. But knowing that, I have to be all dad-like and regulate. It’s sometimes a challenge to stay on track with finding him a healthy, balanced lunch to pack. Like most kids, he gets tired of the same thing – turkey sandwiches and cashew butter and banana honey sandwiches can only go on repeat for so many days. Lately for him, he’s into salads.
I know, imagine a little eight year old busting out an arugula salad for lunch at school. He does and then loads it with croutons and salad dressing—whose complaining—at least he’s getting his greens in. Alongside those healthy greens are snacks like this homemade fruit roll-up, Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries, some crackers and a rotation of almond milk and Ocean Spray® single serve juices along with Ocean Spray® Sparkling Cranberry (his favorite).
To keep me victorious with the weekly lunchtime challenge, I’ve learned to stock the pantry with a variety of snacks and drinks and having him help me decide and pack his lunches. It’s a great way to teach him about food choices and it gets him eating what he likes rather than coming home with a half-eaten lunch box filled with what I thought he would like.
- 5 medium peaches, about 1½ lbs
- ⅓ -3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- Preparation: Line a 12x17 cookie sheet with a silpat or foil that is lightly brushed with vegetable oil and then wiped down with a paper towel (only a little bit of oil is needed).
- Pit and chop peaches (leave skins intact). Places pieces in a blender or food processor and pulse until pureed. Transfer pureed mixture to a heavy bottom pan. Taste mixture and add sugar to preferred sweetness. Stir in lemon juice. Bring mixture to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook and stir every now and then until mixture thickens and clumps when scooped with a spoon, about 1 hour. Stir more frequently the last 20 minutes so mixture at the bottom of pan does not burn.
- Pour mixture onto prepared bake sheet, then using an off-set spatula spread to an ⅛ inch thickness. Bake at 190 degrees until fruit leather is tacky, but does not stick to your fingers, about 3 hours. Let cool completely. Once cooled place smooth-side down on wax paper and cut to desired strip size. Roll up strips and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
This conversation is sponsored by Ocean Spray. All text and opinions are mine.