Raw & Fermented Snacks Treats

Apricot Probiotic Fruit Leather

One of the easiest ways to preserve fresh fruit is to make it into fruit leather. This cultured version has a nice tang and a healthy dose of probiotic bacteria.

Apricots are always the earliest stone fruit to come into season, and for many people, their arrival signifies the beginning of summer.

Apricot Nutrition

Apricots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a very good source of vitamin C, and a good source of potassium. They even contain a little tryptophan, which is a difficult, but essential amino acid to get in your diet.

Apricots also contain phytochemicals called carotenoids, which are compounds that give red, orange and yellow colors to fruits and vegetables. The powerful antioxidant Lycopene is one of the carotenoids found in apricots.

Apricot seeds, also called “kernels,” are also edible and taste wonderfully like almonds. Some people think that apricot kernels help fight cancer. Oil extracted from the seeds is used in cooking and also makes a wonderful skin care oil.

Apricot Selection and Storage

Apricot season in the U.S. runs from May to August. Look for fruits with a rich orange color or even a blush of pink, and avoid pale and yellow fruits. Apricots should be slightly soft. If they are too firm, they have not been tree-ripened, and tree-ripened fruits always taste best and have the most nutrition.

Wash fresh fruits gently in cold water and pat dry with a soft cloth. Add fresh apricot slices to lunchboxes, salads and cereals, make them into jams, syrups and brandy, or simply sun-dry them and chop them into raisin-size pieces to use in baked treats.

One of the easiest and most kid-friendly ways to preserve fresh fruit is to make it into fruit leather. But since fruit leathers can be very sweet and hard on the teeth, I thought I would bulk up the nutrition a little by culturing the fruit first, so it had a nice tangy taste and a healthy dose of probiotic bacteria for oral and digestive health.

The Importance of Cultured Foods

Eating cultured or fermented foods is the best way to restore and maintain our important gut flora. Without a healthy gut microbiome, we can experience digestive troubles and weight gain, autoimmune diseases, skin problems, and even depression and neurological issues.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, real sourdough bread, kefir, or homemade yogurt should be an important, daily part of every whole food diet, especially for kids. But getting these types of foods into kids regularly can sometimes be tricky.

This cultured fruit leather recipes gives kids the sweet treat they love, but with enough probiotics to keep their guts—and their parents—happy.

Here’s how to make cultured probiotic fruit leather:

Cultured Probiotic Fruit Leather

Prep

Cook

Total

You can make this cultured fruit leather with virtually any summer fruit, and it's a great way to use up that bumper crop!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds of fresh apricots, or other organic fruit
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • Spices, to taste (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, etc.)
  • Sweetener, to taste (raw honey, maple syrup, stevia, Rapadura, etc.)
  • Half a packet of a vegetable starter culture OR 2 Tbsp. whey

Instructions

Culturing the Fruit:

  1. Prepare the fruit (core apples, remove unwanted seeds or skin, etc.) and cut into pieces.
  2. Process the fruit in a blender, food processor or through a food mill until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Mix in the salt, spices and sweetener, to taste.
  4. Prepare the starter culture according the instructions that came with it, then mix it into the fruit mixture. If using whey, add it now.
  5. Place the fruit mixture into a canning jar, leaving 1-2 inches of headroom, and place a lid on the jar.
  6. Wrap the jar in a towel to block out light and allow the jar to sit in a warm spot (70-80°F) for 7-10 days.
  7. Be careful when removing the jar lid, because pressure may have built up.

Drying the Fruit Leather:

  1. Line dehydrator trays (or baking sheets if using the oven) with sheets of unbleached parchment paper or Paraflexx/Teflexx.
  2. Spread the fruit mixture evenly and very thickly on the sheets. If the mixture is too thin, strain it through a nut milk bag, tea towel or tight weave cheese cloth to thicken it up. The strained juice is delicious and contains beneficial bacteria from the culturing process.
  3. Set your dehydrator (or oven) for 110 degrees and allow the fruit leather to dry for 8-24 hours. (Don’t set it any higher than 110, or you’ll kill the beneficial bacteria you just cultured!) The exact length of time will depend on the thickness of the mixture, so be sure to check on it regularly.
  4. The fruit leather is done when it is no longer sticky.
  5. Peel the leather away from the parchment or Teflexx sheets and tear it into strips.
  6. Store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for lasting freshness.
  7. Enjoy!
Recommended for This Recipe

One of the easiest ways to preserve fresh fruit is to make it into fruit leather. This cultured version has a nice tang and a healthy dose of probiotic bacteria.

About the author

Dawn Gifford

Dawn is the creator of Small Footprint Family, and the author of the critically acclaimed Sustainability Starts at Home – How to Save Money While Saving the Planet. After a 20-year career in green building and environmental sustainability, chronic illness forced her to shift her expertise and passion from the public sphere to home and hearth. Get the whole story behind SFF here.

4 Comments

Click here to comment. (Please note our comment policy. Comments close after 90 days.)

Books You’ll Love

HEALTHY EATING MADE EASY!



Want to eat healthier? Save money on food? Start a special diet?
The RealPlan personalized meal planning app makes getting a delicious, whole food dinner on the table a snap—whether you're Paleo, vegan or something in between! Learn more »

50 Ways to Love Your Mother - Simple Steps for a Greener, Healthier Planet

IT'S EASY BEING GREEN!

Get your FREE ebook with 50 simple, “entry-level” ways to go easy on the planet, and your wallet, too.

Thank you! Please check your email now and be sure to CONFIRM your subscription to receive your ebook.

Pin624
Share235
Stumble81
Yum10
Tweet9