Tie Dye Fruit Leather

Tie DyeArticle written by Carol Schwarz (carol.schwarz@unl.edu) Extension Educator in Buffalo County and Reed Levings, University of Nebraska-Kearney Intern

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Tie dye fruit leather is a fun and colorful way to use fruit. Select one fruit or several different kinds. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruit can be used. Here is a basic recipe to get you started, but feel free to try out your own combos too!

  1. Wash hands with soap and water. Cook chopped fruit in a double boiler on the stove until soft and temperature reaches 160oF. Place cooked fruit in blender to puree – careful it will be hot. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice per 2 cups of fruit to protect the color and help destroy bacteria during drying. If there are tiny seeds present, it is recommend to remove them for young children. Optional:  add 1 tablespoon sugar, honey or ¼ teaspoon cinnamon per 2 cups of fruit.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet or flat tray with vegetable spray or line with plastic wrap (make sure pan has sides to prevent spillage). Any fruit combination can be used to make a tie dye design. Spread puree evenly in pan, about 1/8 to 1/4-inch deep. Two cups of puree is enough to cover a 12 by 17-inch cookie sheet.
  3. Set oven at lowest setting (140°-145°F). Leave the oven door open 2 to 6 inches to let the moisture out.
  4. Leather is dry when the puree isn’t sticky when touched, between 4-10 hours.
  5. To cut leather, use a sharp knife, pizza cutter or cookie cutter to cut them into favorite shapes! Roll pieces or shapes in wax or parchment paper while still warm. Make sure the leather has dried completely before storing. Enjoy your creations!

Fruit Combination Ideas

Purple Color:  raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, plums and banana

Yellow Color:  fresh mango, dried apricots and orange juice

Green Color:  kiwi, mango and mint leaves

Blue Color:  blueberries and grape juice

Red Color:  strawberries, peaches and banana

Additional Tips: 

  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place. It will retain good quality for up to one year in the freezer and several months in the refrigerator,or 1-2 months at room temperature.
  • To make fun colors use flavored gelatin or drink mix.

Source:  Leathers and Jerkies: Colorado State University Extension. This newsletter has been peer reviewed.