Monday, May 18, 2015

Homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups

I am a child born and raised in the 80's and 90's.  Crimped hair, Aquanet, bows as big as my head, and neon everything was the anthem of my childhood.

Aside from the undeniable fashion that was definitely 80's and 90's, there were the food trends.  One that sticks out were the gummy fruit snacks.  My lunch wasn't complete without a fruit roll-up, fruit by the foot or Gushers. Ah, Gushers.

Remember those gummies that were fill with that sour, puckering juice?  I loved those things.

I was a walking, talking gummy snack during my childhood.

Every time I'm at the store I pass those chewy, fruity snacks of my childhood and I reminisce for a moment.  But, I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I actually enjoyed one.  All that changed the other day.  I was at a church event and they had fruit roll-ups and fruit by the foot that were there for the taking.
I grabbed a couple for my little guy.  When I saw them I realized I hadn't ever let him try one of my favorite childhood snacks and instantly felt like I was depriving him of the awesomeness that is tart, chewy fruit roll-ups.  Just like with me, he tried one and it was love at first bite!

Since I now had a partner in crime that loved these things just as much as I did I wanted to try making my own at home.  He was by my side through the entire process; dumping the fruit in the processor, adding a little lemon juice and even taste testing along the way.  It was pure torture waiting for 3 plus hours on the stuff to get to that iconic gummy consistency.  But, he was a trooper and made it through.
It was finally time for the true test, the taste test.  I tore off a piece and let him try it.  He studied it for a moment, popped it in his mouth and instantly gave them a thumbs-up.  That was the seal of approval I was looking for!

These were so simple and easy to throw together.  The most time consuming part is the dehydrating process, but it's totally worth it.  We left the seeds in the mixture, but if you want a smoother consistency you can strain through a fine mesh sieve before placing on the baking sheet.
Strawberry was the first fruit I tried, but these could be made using so many different fruits and fruit combinations.  I can't wait to try others.  Mangos may be next!

Homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups

4 Cups strawberries, stems removed
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Honey, agave nectar, or other sweetener, to taste
Alternately 4-5 Tbsp sugar (in place of natural sweetener)


Preheat oven to 200.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and set aside.
Place strawberries, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth.  Pour in a large sauce pan, add sweetener and place over medium-low heat.  Allow mixture to simmer until it begins to thicken, about 20 minutes.  Taste, be careful to not burn yourself, add more sweetener if needed.

Pour on the prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 3-4 hours, until dehydrated.  It will be tacky, but should be dry.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Spread wax or parchment paper over a flat surface.  Turn the fruit roll-up out on the paper, roll up and cut into strips.  Store in an airtight container for a week or freeze.

Recipe source: A Lynsey original

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