Homemade Natural & Fun Treats to Make with Your Kids
Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, the classic Gummy Bear. What is it that makes chewy and fruity go together so well? Candy is something I have always wanted to be able to make at home. Even all-natural candies that I find in the grocery store are full of ingredients I either cannot recognize or that I would rather not be eating – tons of added sugar and ‘natural flavors’. There’s nothing better than finding a good treat that is sweetened primarily with fruit and we have found it with these Mixed Berry Fruit Roll Ups. I have shared this recipe with coworkers and friends who have little ones and they have loved making these with them! They are easy to make, sweet and satisfying.
If you have ever made gummy bears at home using those cute little silicone molds then you have probably also felt discouraged to ever make at-home- candy again. Usually the recipes involve blooming gelatin, candy thermometers and using eye droppers to fill tiny little bear shaped molds. Talk about a painful experience, especially compared to the ease of slicing and rolling these awesome fruit roll ups. My husband is a gummy candy lover and now with this easy recipe in my arsenal, I’ve definitely found our new homemade version of his favorite snacks. The benefit of making these at home is sharing the recipe with your family, avoiding natural flavors and being able to choose how much added sugar – if any – you want.
You don’t need any fancy machinery to make these, just a blender or food processor and an oven. A pizza cutter will also come in handy but is not necessary. You are welcome to use a dehydrator as well but to get the ‘roll-up’ look you will want to be sure to use a square or rectangular baking sheet. We actually used a convection oven for this recipe which can help the process of drying. In a convection oven air is circulated and allows the contents of the oven to cook quicker than a standard oven. Keep that in mind when choosing your cooking appliance. Your oven at 175°F may take longer than the convection oven method we used.
Once you puree your 3 cups of fruit and sweetener you simply spread the mixture evenly on a lined baking sheet. This recipe works best with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, you should avoid using aluminum foil or oil. Be careful not to put too much puree around the outside of the parchment paper! You will need a nice ½ -1 inch edge for easy removal from the oven. It’s important to make the mixture an even thickness so that thinner sections do not get too dry and crack. Remember that as your fruit dehydrates, it will lose volume. Most of this loss of volume will be in height so do not make the layer of fruit too thin or you will have a cracked and lackluster result that will be too difficult to roll up.
A few Fruit Roll Up’s along with a Breakfast Cookie Mini is a great fruit-sweetened snack full of fiber, whole grains and vitamins. These are also great for late night or middle of the work-day cravings. I have been taking a few with me to work to eat with my Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookie Mini for that afternoon pick me up. They have been a lifesaver for a time when I usually crave a bag of gummy worms or skittles. We chose to add 2 tablespoons of honey for this recipe but it is not necessary to add any sweetener. If you are using a naturally sour fruit like raspberries or if the fruit is just not ripe enough then adding sweetener is probably a good idea. Feel free to use granulated sugar, honey, agave or stevia to your liking. The best way to incorporate the sweetener is to add it to the blender with the fruit.
No need to stick to just berries for these fruit roll ups but they are a great choice for your first time with this recipe. Other produce that dehydrates well are mangoes, apples, bananas, carrots and beets. Foods with higher fiber content tend to do better whereas fruits with a high concentration of water, think watermelon, tend to take longer and yield smaller batches. We chose not to add any lemon juice to this recipe but the addition of acid can help your fruit to retain its vibrant color after cooking. For a 3 cup recipe adding 2 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice should do the trick. There was definitely a loss of color in our strawberry puree but the result was still beautiful. I am eager to take on a mango-carrot or even a beet-blueberry version of these fruit roll ups! What a delicious way to incorporate more fruit & vegetables into your diet.
I found that frozen blueberries will work well for this recipe. A great option if the fruit you want to use is not in season or if you just don’t have access to fresh ones in your area. Try to keep most of the extra moisture out by thawing your berries in a bowl, draining any excess water and removing any ice chunks. You can also use all one fruit if you want just strawberry fruit rolls but I love the design that the variety creates on these awesome mixed berry fruit rolls. To achieve this design simply puree your fruit separately, start with one flavor to create your general outline on the baking sheet then add in streams or globs of the other flavor(s). Use a spoon or a chop stick to draw in your design. Don’t forget to leave the edge on your baking sheet.
Let the dehydrated fruit cool down before slicing and rehydrate any thin or cracked sections with a damp paper towel. Once they are sliced you just need to cut parchment paper into strips to about the same width and length of your Fruit Roll Ups. Its okay if the rolls pop out of their wrapper a little, they are homemade after all! Get a few little helpers to roll them while you do the tying, it’s a lot of rolls to make and the kids will enjoy the process almost as much as they enjoy unwrapping and eating them.
Mixed Berry Fruit Roll Ups
Makes ~ 24 small rolls
- 3 cups fruit (We used 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup blueberries & 1 cup blackberries)
- 1-2 tbsp. honey or other sweetener (optional)
- Preheat oven to 175° F.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Puree all fruit & honey in a high speed blender like a Vitamix.
- Pour pureed fruit on baking sheet leaving about ½ inch edge from the outside of the parchment paper or baking mat. This edge is important to avoid your fruit sticking to the edges of your baking sheet.
- Check fruit after 3 hours and every 30 minutes after that, cook time will vary based on oven temperature. Total cook time for a convection oven is around 4 hours.
- Once cooled, slice with a pizza cutter in vertical strips. Cut parchment paper the same length as your baking sheet, and about ½ inch wide. Place fruit roll strips onto parchment paper strips and roll loosely, securing the roll with twine or string.
- Store in airtight container at room temperature & enjoy within 3 weeks.
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