I make this a lot for my kids…. adults around here like it too…. but really it’s intended for the kids. It’s easy to pack in lunches, it’s not going to get juice all over, doesn’t require a container, won’t get their hands dirty and will hopefully help keep their clothes a little cleaner before the end of the school day. Plus, it’s a quick thing to pop in… and it fits the bill for “snacks” allowed at school, because it isn’t an actual fruit roll-up with hardly any fruit in it…. it’s actually 100% fruit, no sugar, no anything additional added. We call them “Fruit Rollas” because that’s what Elliott, my almost 3 year old calls them… and the name has stuck.
The start of the process goes like this: roughly 6 cups of apple sauce, a quart of strawberries (or a bag of frozen strawberries), a pint of blueberries (or about half a bag of frozen), and 2 bananas.
None of those amounts is set in stone, use whatever you’ve got…. but I like that combination because it gives it kind of a pretty reddish/ purple color. The bananas and the applesauce are both needed for the right consistency though.
Okay, so throw those into a gallon sized pot and turn on the stove to high-med heat and bring it up to a boil. Turn the heat down to med and just let it boil until everything is quite soft and squishy. Maybe 15-20 mins. Cooking it this way REALLY helps the end product to not be too thin, and not be too sticky….
Then, carefully spoon it into a blender (I say carefully because it’s hot and you don’t want to burn yourself… that hurts.) Once it’s all in the blender, just blend til there’s no more chunks. Little bits of blueberry skin and strawberry seeds are inevitable and add to the charm.
Line your dehydrator trays with parchment paper. (This is where you really do need parchment paper and not wax paper…. it does make a difference and wax paper isn’t as nice to peel off.)
Then pour onto the trays in a rectangle and using a spatula, gently spread into the center. You want the whole thing to be roughly 1/4″ thick…… and it helps a little to have a bit more on the exterior than in the middle. Leave a good inch around the perimeter between the edge of the rectangle and the edge of the parchment paper. Don’t go all the way to the edge or it will be quite difficult to remove. I think I shoot for my total rectangles to be about 12″ x 9″ give or take… it’s all eyeballed.
Then, add your trays to the dehydrator and set for 135* for about 8-9 hours. With this amount, I almost always end up with 6 trays…. and I cut each tray into 6ths, so I end up with 36 fruit roll ups. Not too shabby! (Considering I can usually get all the fruit for about $5…. and if I were to purchase these it would cost $3/ box x4… so the $7/ week savings throughout the year is probably worth a good dehydrator by itself because it pays for it, hahaha…. see that…. justification! 😉
Half way through the time frame, I do turn my trays 180* so that they dry a bit more evenly…. you don’t have to, but I feel like it ensures there will not be any wet spots at the end.
Once they are all dry, they should not be sticky to the touch. They should feel dry. Gently pull the parchment paper off the racks and take them to a table along with some nifty (and clean) kitchen shears.
Then, gently peel back the parchment paper. typically I kind of release it all the way around the edges and the center peels away super easily. The exterior peels away easily too, but if some gets trapped in the little wrinkles that happen with the heat and the drying, it might start a tear, and it’s like packing tape where the tear just wants to keep on tearing…
Once they’re all separated, feel free to admire the beautiful stain it leaves behind on the parchment paper….. Every time I’m like, It’s so pretty!! And then you will have 6 very large fruit roll ups just waiting to be turned into the snack of children’s dreams.
So, this next part is also super easy. Basically just cut down the middle lengthwise with the kitchen shears, double up, then cut into thirds…. and now each of those really large fruit roll ups has turned into SIX. It’s quite magical how that works….
Look at that beautiful pile of snacks for my kids! This will be gone within a week….. and then the process gets repeated. Each of those delicious nutritious rectangles is one serving of fruit for them as well…. so nobody feels guilty.
Then, the last step is optional. They do actually pack into a smaller space flat…. but… I like to roll them up. I don’t do anything to keep them held into a roll, after a little while sitting that way they just hold it themselves… and I don’t add anything to keep it from sticking, because they aren’t sticky… because of the pre-boiling process. If you were to skip that to keep them “raw” you’d have a stickier product on your hands and would probably need to do something to keep them from sticking to each other.
So, that’s it! Just roll and set into a container…. and keep in your “snack” cupboard. Add them to lunches, send for school snacks, grab on the go, hand to a screaming toddler…..take it along backpacking or camping…. whatever you need it for. Just remember, while it’s boiling, you are doing other things…. plus that’s only like 10-15mins. Then, blender, spread, and you are not involved during the hours it dehydrates. Peel, cut, and roll. Your time involvement is pretty minimal for a yearly savings of nearly $364 if you make this once a week. Seriously…. very few DIY kitchen projects actually produce that kind of savings…. and it’s FRUIT…. it’s a win win win.