Apricot Fruit Leather- An Easy Lunchbox Favorite


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There is something in the air, can you feel it? It’s something that speaks of the end of summer rapidly approaching, and it comes with a strange urge to buy pencils and backpacks, and to stock the freezer and pantry with easy lunchbox fillers.

It just so happens that right at this same time, the branches of my apricot trees are bending over from the weight of more fruit than I can use. That means it’s time to make one of my and my kids’ favorite lunchbox fillers; apricot fruit leather.

This recipe takes a long time to cook, but the actual hands on time is very short. The best part is that your kids think they are getting an awesome treat, and you can feel good about it knowing that they aren’t getting any food dyes or added sugars. Everyone wins!

The first thing you do with this recipe is round up an adorable helper or two and have them remove the pits from the apricots.

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Once your pan is full, add 1/4 cup of raw, preferably local honey, and put on the stove over medium heat.

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The apricots will quickly start to break down. Cook for about 15-20 minutes. The apricots will continue to reduce, the juice will turn darker, and your house will start to smell amazing! While this is cooking, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 170 degrees.

Once the apricots have cooked down, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. You could also do this step in a blender or food processor, but please be careful, the apricots are very hot!

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Pour your pureed apricots onto the prepared baking sheet and spread thinly. Shaking the pan can also help to distribute the puree more evenly.

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Baking time will vary depending on your oven and how thick your puree is. You can expect it to be anywhere from 6-12 hours of oven time. You know your fruit leather is done when it is slightly tacky to the touch in the middle, and it peels off of the parchment easily. Keep an eye on this, if it cooks for too long it becomes brittle and hard.

Allow to cool completely, and then place parchment side up on a cutting board.

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Cut into strips using a pizza cutter, and then enlist the help of your minions to roll up the strips, leaving the parchment paper intact.

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Store your fruit leather in an airtight container until ready to add to those lunchboxes. This will keep for 2-3 weeks in the pantry, or up to a year if stored in the freezer. (Or so I’ve been told, we are never able to keep kids (or the husband) out of it long enough to have it last more than a couple of months!)

Apricot Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh apricots, pits removed
  • ½ cup raw, preferably local honey

Instructions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
  3. Combine apricots and honey in a pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring often.
  4. Cook about 15-20 minutes, until apricots have broken down and the mixture has darkened in color.
  5. Spread evenly and thinly on the baking sheet, taking care to stay away from the edges of the parchment.
  6. Bake for 6-11 hours depending on oven temperature and the thickness of your fruit leather.
  7. The fruit leather is done when it is slightly tacky in the center and it peels off the parchment easily.
  8. Allow to cool completely before cutting into strips. Leave the parchment paper on until ready to eat.
  9. Store for 2-3 weeks in the pantry, or up to a year in the freezer.

A few other things I like to keep in my freezer stash for school lunches are Blueberry Lemon Muffins, Make Your Own Pizza, or some kind of yummy soup to send in a thermos. Having a freezer stash means that I can always send a nutritious meal to school with my kids, even on those days when life gets a little crazy.

What do you keep in your freezer stash for easy school lunches?

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Emily

Emily Allen is a former obese girl turned Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She lost 70 pounds by cutting processed food, an experience she documented on her site, www.thatswhatieat.com. Emily now teaches families how to cut processed foods and live their healthiest lives. She teaches cooking classes, does public speaking about healthy living, and has even appeared on local news programs featuring her recipes. Emily believes that anyone can live a healthier life, no matter their schedule or budget. You can find her on her site www.thatswhatieat.com, on Instagram, onPinterest, and on Facebook.

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