Kate Ulman’s Same Old Crap

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Kate Ulman’s Same Old Crap
11 February 2014

I have been pretty stoked with the reaction to Same Old Crap Wednesdays. And I can’t believe how amazing everyone’s Same Old Crap is! This week’s Same Old Crapper is my lovely friend and school mum buddy (I have NEVER had a school mum buddy until now), Kate Ulman. You might know her from her blog Foxs Lane. I am pretty honoured to have her here, as she is someone who inspires me in all aspects of life, not just for making delicious food, but also the way she loves her family and the people who are close to her. She has been a great support to me in the last year and I am forever grateful. Thank you beautiful friend (don’t forget you’re picking Maya up today, you asked me to remind you).

Please keep sending in submissions, as I am constantly inspired by your stories and your food ideas. You really are all pretty amazing, you know, and I am very lucky to have met you all. Thank you so much for being part of lunchlady.

Now, let’s here from my friend Kate. x

Kate’s Fruit Leather

Fruit leather is one of those things that ticks all my snack cooking boxes. It makes use of all the surplus and overripe fruit we have lying around the place, it is simple to make, it doesn’t contain any processed sugar, it uses only one or two ingredients, it is only ever seasonal, it stores really well and most importantly, kids love it.

My fruit leather love began about 20 years ago when I was living in Israel and spending a lot of time on buses traveling from north to south and then back again. Each time I was about to board a bus, I would visit a street stall first and buy a tightly rolled, plastic wrapped sheet of apricot fruit leather. My aim was always to unroll it tiny piece by piece and nibble at it while making it last all the way until I reached my destination. I loved that stuff.

A few years ago I was reading a book about preserving and was thrilled and a bit surprised to come across a recipe for dehydrated fruit leather. How come I had never thought to make my own?

Maybe I had thought it would be too complicated, or that I would need specialized equipment or ingredients or maybe I had just forgotten all about it.

Anyway, straight after I read the recipe I set about making some and haven’t really stopped since. In the cooler months when we have the wood stove on 24/7 I make it on baking trays in the warming oven and in summer I use my dehydrator.

What you need

  • Fruit
  • Water
  • Lemon (optional – for taste and to store longer)
  • Cinammon (optional – for taste)

What to do

  1. First wash your fruit.
  2. Depending on what fruit you are using remove the core, skin, pips and place them in a saucepan on a low heat on the stove.
  3. From what I’ve read, the rule is to add half a cup of water to the saucepan for every four cups of chopped fruit, but I just add a big glug here and there to make sure the mixture isn’t too dry and isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Stir in the juice of half a lemon and some cinnamon if you feel like it. Have a taste and see if you need to add some more.
  5. Simmer and stir. Simmer and stir, until the fruit is soft and mashable.
  6. Using a food processor or a blender, or a sieve and the back of a spoon, mash the cooked fruit until it is completely smooth and lump free. Like baby food.
  7. Lay a sheet of baking paper over your oven trays or oil your dehydrator trays.
  8. Spread your fruit mixture evenly over one tray at a time until the mixture is about half a centimeter deep.
  9. Place your trays in the oven at the lowest heat setting possible and leave the oven door slightly ajar. You might need to place a spoon in the oven door to keep it from closing but beware, the spoon will get very hot. OR place the trays in your dehydrator and switch it on.
  10. Keep the fruit leather trays in the oven for as long as it takes to completely dry out, about eight to ten hours. The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky or wet, but dry and leather-like.
  11. Once your fruit leather is ready and dry, peel it off the baking paper or trays and roll it up. Or cut it up into snack size portions. You could even chop it into tiny bits and sprinkle it on your cereal or salads.

We like to store the rolled up leathers in a glass, sealed container. To be honest, I have no idea how long it will keep as our girls eat it almost as quickly as we can make it. What I do know is how great it feels to feed our family something we have made from the freshest, organic fruit, with no sugar and no nasties or numbers. And there have been reports that even the kids who only eat junk food in their school lunches love it too, so it must be a winner. Yay!

OK, off you go, if you get some in the oven now, it’ll be ready for their school lunches tomorrow.

See ya later – dehydrator!!