|About a quarter of my haul|
Saturday was the very first day that Liberty Mills was open for strawberries. We went there last year to get our berries for making sugar free jam, and it was so fun, I thought we had to go again. Never mind that it was 2 days before my due date, I’m not one to sit around when there are berries to be had!
We got a 4 quart flat in an hour and headed home to make jam… Till I got home and realized I was completely unprepared for jam! Okay- plan b: wash, hull, process, and freeze all the berries needed for a double batch of jam. And now what to do with the remaining 2.5lb? Well, I froze those hulled, ready for smoothies. Then I remembered the Martha Stewart video I saw on Swagbucks on making your own fruit roll-ups. Yes please!
I cut the strawberries with apples because that’s what the 365 brand strawberry fruit snack has that my son loves so much, and because if you had to buy the fruit at the store, apples are generally much cheaper (plus if you are at Whole Foods with your kid, they will give you a voucher for a free apple at customer service).
1 lb fruit, any kind (.5lb apples: free, .5 lb strawberries: $15 per 6.5lb hulled berries, $15/6.5 = $2.31 x .5lb = $1.15)
2/3 cup sugar ($3.29 per 5 lb, $3.29/80oz = $.04 x 5oz = $.21)
|What a pound of apples and strawberries looks like|
|About half way through the cooking I decided the apples needed to be cut a little smaller if it was ever going to cook all the way through.|
|After cooking down, it was ready for the food processor.|
Peel and chop apples and combine with the strawberries and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over low to medium low heat for 40 minutes until thickened. Pour the fruit mixture into the food processor and process till smooth. Dump the fruit puree into a fine mesh strainer and strain back into the saucepan, discarding any chunks that didn’t fit through the strainer. Give the fruit a stir, then spread them evenly on a silicone mat on a rimmed baking sheet (If you don’t have a silicone mat, lightly grease the baking sheet). Bake for about 2 hours at 200 degrees.
|I strained it into the pot so it could be stirred before being spread out on the sheet.|
|My husband gave me this mat for Christmas. It's been great!|
Once it’s out of the oven, allow it to cool a few minutes, then put parchment paper over the entire sheet, and flip it over. Gently peel back the silicone mat. Cut the fruit to the size you like (Martha used a pizza cutter, but I thought a sharp knife worked just fine). Roll them up and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
|Ready to flip.|
Well, this is how it was supposed to go… I just was not going to stir a pot for 40 minutes. I stirred it till it was all combined, and I stirred for the last 10 minutes, but it meant that not as much liquid evaporated as it would have if I had followed instructions. I also made the mistake of waiting to start this process after Spencer went to bed, so by the time 2 hours in the oven went by it was 11pm. It looked a little sticky, but I thought it would be fine. Not so- the middle was still too wet and didn’t peel properly.
|Flipped onto the parchment. Can you see how wet it is in the middle? It wouldn't even hold together properly!|
|I cut the fruit with a knife, then the parchment with scissors. I rolled them into long strips, and cut off pieces as needed for lunches and snacks.|
Despite my issues, this stuff is fantastic! Since the middle was too wet, I just ate it then and there. Mmm. Before you cut the sugar (as I was tempted to do), try a batch at regular strength. Once it gets down to the final product it doesn’t taste as sweet as you might think. It probably would be great with honey instead of sugar; I’ll probably try that on my next batch.
|Close up of the final product. Delicious!|
Well, it’s a little hard to compare since I ate a chunk before I measured it in any way, but let’s say it’s about the size of 8 365 brand fruit snacks. That’s $1.36 for 8 snacks, or $.17 per snack.
$.59 per 365 brand fruit snack.
Definitely Try It! Even though it took a while, it was really easy, and if I’d been a little more patient with the baking process I don’t think it would have mattered that I didn’t stir for 40 minutes. Plus they are crazy good, and like the granola bars, I love that I can customize the size of my kid’s treat.