Sometimes, springtime offers up a small miracle: ripe strawberries and tangy rhubarb both ready for harvest at the same time. This is more uncommon than one might think. When it does happen, my children and I take the opportunity to make strawberry-rhubarb fruit leather.
Fruit leathers are easy to make, provided you have the right equipment. A Vitamix or equally powerful blender/food processor is essential, as is a good quality food dehydrator equipped with a programmable thermostat, a timer and several non-stick trays designed specifically for the purpose of drying down soupy mixtures. Most dehydrators come with one tray included. Additional fruit leather trays can be purchased separately.
The recipe is simple:
4-5 Cups Fresh Topped and Washed Strawberries
4-5 Cups De-Stringed and Coarsely Chopped Rhubarb
¼ Cup (more or less) Sweetener (Honey, Brown Sugar, Agave, Molasses, Maple Syrup)
¼ Cup Water or Apple Juice
Prep all of the above ingredients and toss into the blender. Process until smooth. When thoroughly blended, spread evenly onto the non-stick trays. Using the quantities listed above, we typically make enough puree to fill three trays. Set the temperature on the dehydrator to 135F and the timer for 10 hours. Easy peasy!
If you start this project in the evening, your kiddos will be enjoying fruit leather in their lunch boxes the following morning. I typically use a fork or butter knife to lift the leather off of the tray. Once removed, I take a scissors and clip the leather into serving sized triangles. All extra leathers are stored in an air-tight container where they will keep nearly indefinitely.
As a variation, sometimes I add in some pak choi, spinach or kale to sneak in a few greens. Although the color will change from bright pink to greenish, the flavor remains pleasantly fruity and the kids get a good healthy dose of some much-needed chlorophyll in the process.
So, if you are feeling adventurous, take a few minutes to introducer rhubarb to your family in a whole new way. My kiddos love this project and the results are delicious.