Strawberry Chia fruit leather is sweet, chewy, and SO yummy. The chia seeds give it the most amazing texture you won’t ever go back to regular fruit leather!
Is Fruit Leather Healthy?
Not all fruit leather is created equally. Which means that if you are buying fruit leather from the store, you should read the ingredients before you buy it if you are concerned about what it is in it. And if you are making it at home, then you should definitely find a recipe that only includes ingredients you want your kids to eat.
A lot of commercial fruit leathers add sugar, corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, to preserve the shelf-life and texture of the finished product.
Homemade fruit leather is typically just pureed fruit and some recipes add lemon juice and a bit of sweetener. This recipe for Strawberry Chia Fruit Leather is just strawberries and chia seeds. If your strawberries aren’t very sweet, you might want to add just a bit of honey. My kids like it more tart and so I don’t add any sweetener, but it is totally up to your taste preferences!
So to answer the question, Is Fruit Leather Healthy, the answer is yes if you make it yourself! It can be a great way to get kids to eat fruit and enjoy it in a form that has a different texture and flavor.
Chia Seeds in Fruit Leather
White chia seeds, which are more beige than white, blend into baked goods, oatmeal, and fruit leather a lot more seamlessly than the regular black ones. The subtle color means that you might have less issues with little eaters trying to pick them out. Look for them at your local natural food store or on amazon.
My kids actually really love chia seeds and so I typically just use the black variety because they are a lot easier to find. The chia seeds give this fruit leather an amazing texture and make it thicker and more pliable.
How to Make Fruit Leather
Making fruit leather at home isn’t hard, but it can be a little tricky to master the method. Here are a few tips to help guarantee success:
- Spread the fruit puree evenly, and don’t let it thin out at the edges since they tend to bake faster. You can even spread it slightly thicker at the edges to help ensure even baking.
- The mixture will dry from the edges inward, so if you notice that there’s a two inch strip that’s done around the perimeter but the interior is still tacky to the touch, remove your pan from the oven and simply cut it off the edges with kitchen shears. Let them rest on a wire rack while the rest of the fruit leather finishes baking.
- You can tell that the fruit leather is done when it’s completely set and dry and it peels off easily from the silicone mat. It will also look darker in color.
- If you happen to over-bake the edges, simply place those strips into a zip top plastic bag and let sit overnight at room temperature. In the morning, it should be softened up!
How Long Does Fruit Leather Last?
The recommendation is that if you dry your fruit leather completely, you can store it in an airtight container up to 1 month. In my experience, my fruit leather has stayed good for up to 3 months.
You can also freeze your fruit leather up to 1 year! When you want to eat it, just let it thaw on the counter. When I make fruit leather, it usually doesn’t stay around longer than a week because my kids eat it so fast!
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Strawberry Chia Fruit Leather
- 5 cup strawberries
- 2 tablespoon chia seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or silicone mat.
- Wash and dry the strawberries. Remove the stems and roughly chop. Place into a blender and puree until smooth. Add the chia seeds and pulse to combine.
- Pour the mixture onto the mat and use a spatula to spread evenly to about 1/4-inch thick. Make sure that the mixture does not get thinner at the edges since they will cook faster than the interior. You may need to work in batches depending on the size of your baking sheet and silpat.
- Bake for 3-4 hours or until the mixture has dried completely. (Check it starting at 3 hours.) When done, cut with scissors into strips and store in a zip top plastic bag or an airtight container.
- Store up to 1 month.