Thursday, 29 August 2013

Healthy Fruit Leather (a.k.a rollups)

Growing up I thought my mother was irrationally strict. I was the child that was forced to do swimming squad in the midst of a freezing winter, who was never allowed to watch cartoons before school and who was banned from consuming artificial colours and flavours. Red fizzy drinks, lollies and most pre-packaged lunch box snacks were out of the question. School birthday parties or afternoons spent at friends houses were a luxurious escape for me, where I could indulge in sugar-loaded Fanta and 100's and 1000's smothered fairy bread without my mother's knowledge... oh how sneaky of me! I would smugly return home thinking how clever I was for fooling her.

But somehow she always knew... Oh yes, a mother always knows.

My earlier indulgences were given away by my hyperactive and manic behaviour upon return. Bouncing off the walls on a fructose driven sugar high while screaming and crying at my poor defenceless parents was hardly hide-able.

Of course now when reflecting on my childhood I realise my mothers actions were for my own benefit. As a child that was sensitive to artificial colours/flavours and excess sugar she acted in my best interest. However try telling an 8 year old that!

During school recess I was particularly envious of my friends whose lunch boxes contained 'fruit' roll ups. Realistically they are a chewy lolly marketed as a 'healthier' lunch box alternative to ordinary confectionery. As a child I couldn't understand why my mother wouldn't let me eat these!

Now I simply need to look at the list of ingredients to understand why.


Emulsifier 471 for your information is a fatty acid that can be from either plant or animal origin.

For something marketed as a strawberry fruit product it is a little shocking to see that only 1% of the product actually comes from strawberries... actually its disgusting!!!

So here I offer you a healthy alternative to the commercial roll-up. Homemade fruit leather that does not require a dehydrator to make!

Basically you can use whatever fruit you would like! 3 cups of puree will roughly be enough to cover one large baking tray. Play around with whatever fruit/flavours you like and add whatever spices you like :) I chose to use apples, strawberries and ruby grapefruit with a pinch of cinnamon!

Not only do these NOT contain any of the nasties that commercial roll ups contain, but they are pretty much PURE fruit! Say no to artificial crap and yes to real food!

Healthy Fruit Leather (a.k.a roll ups)
Makes 10 strips


2 apples, finely diced
10 strawberries, diced
1 ruby pink grapefruit, diced
Stevia/rice malt syrup to sweeten if needed
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/4 cup water


1. Place the fruit in saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the fruit is soft and the liquid has been reduced. Stir through the cinnamon and salt.

2. Transfer the fruit to a blender and puree until smooth. Taste the mixture and if required add a sweetener. The grapefruit can be quite tart and while suitable for adults children may not appreciate this. If you would like a sweeter roll up than I suggest adding some sweetness to balance out the sourness. If a sweetener is added blend again until combined. You should end up with 2-3 cups worth of pureed fruit.

3. Heat oven to 120-150°C (250-300F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper (if your baking tray is not very large you may need to use two smaller sized trays). Pour the mixture onto the tray and spread it out thinly by using the back of a spatula. You want it to just cover the baking paper's surface without leaving any gaps (the thinner the better!). Place the baking tray in the oven on the lowest shelf availiable and bake for 8-12 hours. I left mine overnight baking at about 130°C for 9 hours. Remove the tray from the oven and using a sharp knife cut the fruit leather into strips. Let it cool completely before peeling the fruit leather off the baking paper. Roll up if desired and store in an airtight container for up to a week! Enjoy :)


  1. I didn't even know this was possible. Very well done :)

    Almost makes up for a childhood without cartoons ;)

  2. I love it! I've been wanting to try out homemade fruit roll-ups, but haven't gotten around to it. Looking at this recipe, there's really no excuse...I can't believe how easy these are to make. I hate to say it, but I think I've turned into one of those moms as well. Soon Arik's friends will come over after school and wonder why the nutella tastes so funny at our house. :)

    1. There is nothign wrong with being one of those mums! Arik will grow up with great food values and will no doubt thank you latter on :)

  3. I should give the rollup a try too. These leather look so yum!

  4. Oh I bet that was hard for you. My mom let us eat everything but times were different back then. With my children Lunchables became the rage and after looking at the ingredient list we told our NO WAY! So I created my own Lunchable that was healthier and that they enjoyed. Theirs were custom made - that seemed to go over pretty well.

    As for your fruit roll-ups I love these. How fun to make your own and ones that won't have you bouncing off the walls. Great recipe - I'll definitely try these!

    1. Your kids are very lucky indeed and being the great cook youa re are hardly deprived :)

  5. Oooo apples, strawberries and grapefruits is a great combination!! I do agree with you, it is disgusting to see the ingredients on that label. So happy making it yourself is so easy and much tastier!!

    1. Its a strange combination but it just worked so well!

  6. I love all kinds of gummy candy, even though I know they aren't the best for me. They're just so yummy. But I would love to try a healthier, homemade version.

  7. My mother was the exact opposite, although I don't have allergies to food coloring and additives. It had to be tough but I'm glad that realized the reasons behind her actions. I'm going to have to dust off my dehydrator and give this recipe a go. The grapefruit is a really interesting addition and just sounds so yum!

    1. The grapefruits gives a yummy tartness which I adore but you can leave it out if you are not a fan. Very jealous you have a dehydrator!

  8. This looks much better than the commercial ones! We were never allowed dessert except for fruit. And now I'm a dessert freak :P

    1. A dessert freak is the best type of freak! hehe

  9. Nice blog comment Inulin used in medicines and the leaves are not medically used. The chief constituents of Inulin,

    acrystalline, bitter substance, of which the yield varies in roots collected at different seasons, and Inulin, an acrid

    resin, with Inulin (a sort of sugar which replaces starch in many of the Dandelion family,Compositae), gluten, gum and

    potash.Dandelion Root provides vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin B complex, as well as zinc, iron and

    potassium. Because of its iron content, it is widely used as a remedy for liver ailments, and has a diuretic effect that

    can help rid the liver of toxins.

  10. how long do I reduce on the stove top? It's been like 45 mins and its still sooo juicy, smells ahhmazing!!

  11. Nice - I never knew you could make those for real.
    I've also grown up with that kind of parents. I remember hating the meat with dark rye bread I always got for luch (Which is ironic, considering I dark rye bread every single day now) while my classmates got luches with toast and chocolate topped rye bread.
    The rye bread is a danish thing called "rugbrød". And it's like, the best, healthiest bread I've ever eaten. Almost every day my lunch consist of salmon and lettuce between two pieces of rugbrød.
    So I guess you really do learn to appreciate health-freaky parents.


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