When I was coming up with my recipe for fruit leather, I had in mind all those parents in mind who dread candy-centric holidays and trying to pack their child’s lunch with healthy snacks. If their kids have food allergies, they spend hours in the store checking the candy and snack labels for signs of gluten, dairy, nuts, and possibly food dyes.
So I’d thought I’d help parents out by making a delicious sugar free orange fruit leather made with clementines. There’s nothing better than making homemade fruit leather recipe yourself. That way you know exactly what’s in it!
I also wanted to create an easy fruit leather recipe, so that kids and mom or dad (or a grandparent or babysitter) could make these together as a fun cooking activity.
This easy recipe for fruit leather also makes a great holiday homemade gift!
Flavoring the orange fruit leather
My Sugar Free Spiced Orange Fruit Leather recipe has an Indian flair to it. I was influenced by some Indian candies my husband was given by a colleague. I could taste that there was ginger and orange in it, but I couldn’t figure what was the other spice.
I was going through my spice cabinet one day when I found it – cardamom! I knew the combination with a bit of lemon would be a wonderful addition to this recipe for fruit leather.
I sweetened the orange fruit leather with Monk Fruit In The Raw Sweetener, which is a natural, no calorie sweetener. I love cooking with monk fruit sweetener since it works just as well as sugar and leaves no bitter aftertaste. Even though clementines are naturally sweet, I knew that adding the lemon, cardamom and ginger could make it a bit bitter. If you don’t like monk fruit, feel free to add honey or another sweetener.
This Mama’s tips for making sugar free orange fruit leather
Equipment to make easy fruit leather
I’m sure you’re thinking that you’ll need a food dehydrator to make easy fruit leather recipes. Frankly, I think it’s a bit easier if you have one because 1) it uses less energy 2) this recipe takes 6 to 8 hours and you may need the oven for something else.
A basic food dehydrator costs around $40-70 and once you have one, you’ll find uses for it. I have a Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator and use it for over 10 years for fruit leather, beef jerky, and drying fruit and mushrooms. I’ve even bought extra trays and fruit leather trays for a dehydrator.
However, with a little planning, using your oven is fine for easy fruit leather recipes. I also found that if you go the oven route, having silicone baking sheets for your baking pans is helpful. I was concerned that the fruit leather would stick to parchment paper. Plus, I didn’t want to risk plastic wrap or wax paper melting in the oven.
How long to cook orange fruit leather?
The trick to making the sugar free orange fruit leather recipe is figuring out how long to bake it. If you’re baking it in your oven, it depends on how low you can set it. (My oven goes down to 170 degrees F.) However, my hydrator goes lower (165 to 115 degrees F). However, it has a fan and the orange fruit leather is dehydrated in a much smaller enclosed space.
So my advice is to check your orange fruit leather at the five hour mark. If the top is sticky, come back in an hour. If it’s not sticky, see if you can peel it off all the way.
If the center of the orange fruit leather is still sticking to the mat/tray, put it back in the oven/dehydrator and check back in 30 minutes. Timing will depend on so many variables such as the moisture of the clementines, the weather and humidity in your home, how well your equipment is working, etc. So I can’t give you hard and fast rules for times.
However, if you do overcook your orange fruit leather, it’s still edible so don’t throw it out! Break it up and turn it into orange fruit leather chips. I sprinkled and dipped them in yogurt – so delicious! I may “accidentally” make orange fruit leather chips again!
Making orange fruit leather roll ups
If you’re using a hydrator, the round trays make it hard to cut the orange fruit leather into long strips. Instead, while the orange fruit leather is still warm, place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Roll it up tightly.
Then using clean kitchen shears, cut the roll into four pieces. Tie each one with kitchen string. The orange fruit leather rolls won’t be perfect. Instead, they’ll look like old fashioned “foot roll up candy” that are just right for placing in lunch boxes.
Store homemade fruit leather in ziplock baggies or airtight containers.
Sugar Free Spiced Orange Fruit Leather
- If using oven, set it to lowest setting (probably 170 degrees F).
- Place all ingredients in a high performance blender or food processor. Blend on high until fruit is frothy, about 20-30 seconds.
- Pour liquid into a medium saucepan. Make sure to scrape down sides of blender or food processor bowl with a spatula to get everything into the saucepan!
- Bring liquid to a boil over medium high heat. Keep liquid boiling over medium heat. Stir frequently with a whisk. Cook for 10 minutes until liquid has thickened into a puree. (It should be like a runny applesauce.)
- If using dehydrator, pour into 1 or 2 trays. Bake for 8 hours or so until the puree is no longer sticky and you can peel it off the trays without it sticking. When it’s still warm, peel it off and wrap the fruit leather in parchment paper, if desired.
- If using oven, place silicon baking mat on a 11 x 17 baking pan. Pour orange puree on silicon baking mat and spread evenly with an offset icing spatula. Leave a half inch of room around all sides. Bake for 8 hours or so until the puree is no longer sticky and you can peel it off the silicon mat without it sticking. When it’s still warm, peel it off and wrap the fruit leather in parchment paper, if desired.
- Serving size: Varies