This fruit leather has two secret ingredients: dates and beets. I’ve made plenty of fruit leather before, but always with just one kind of pureed fruit–and never with dates or beets. Beets will make your kitchen look like a crime scene, so make sure to clean up as you go.
First, let’s talk about why you should be eating beets. They’ve got Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin A, B and C, Potassium and Folate. They contain cancer-fighting antioxidants, and help purify your blood.
They are high in natural sugars, and when you dry fruit of any kind, you concentrate the sugar, even though it’s natural sugar. So make sure everyone brushes their teeth well, and be aware that dried fruit or fruit leather shouldn’t be a free-for-all snack.
Step One: if using frozen berries (mine were a 12 oz bag from Aldi’s) set them out to thaw
Step Two: Roast your beets–scrub well, trim off both ends, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 1-2 hours, depending on the size of your beet. When a roasted beet is done, it can be easily pierced by a fork. (You can eat beet greens in a salad, they are even more nutritious than the beet root itself, so don’t throw out the greens!)
Step Three: Let the beet cool, and the skin should easily peel off. Roughly chop the beet, and add to the fruit mixture. Beet juice will stain, so rinse your counters and utensils right away.
Step Four: Add 3/4 a cup of dried and pitted dates to the mixture (I like Sunsweet dates, if you’re shopping in a grocery store) and blend in a blender or food processor until the mixture is pourable, but thick.
Step Five: Line a cookie sheet or dehydrator tray with parchment paper, and spread the fruit mixture on it, as evenly as possible. If you can keep the puree in a square or rectangular shape, it will be easier to cut when finished.
Step Six: Bake in a dehydrator on the fruit setting for 3 hours, or in a 200 degree oven for abut 5 hours.
Step Seven: When the fruit roll up is no longer sticky, let it cool, and cut into strips. You can wrap the roll ups in parchment paper, or store them in air tight containers. The parchment used on the cookie sheet or dehydrator rack can be used again, for other fruit roll ups. (I roll mine up and store it in the freezer.)
So how weird is a beet fruit leather? They were approved by my boys, and we really don’t eat beets on a regular basis, although I’d like to change that. You can definitely taste the beet flavor, but beets are pretty sweet, it’s not as though we’re adding broccoli or brussels sprouts to fruit leathers.
I think if you don’t have regular beet eaters, this would be a good way to introduce the flavor to them, and you could even use half a beet to begin with. If you don’t care for the beet flavor, you can make plain berry fruit leather by using 12 ounces of fresh or frozen berries, in the same method.
I will definitely make the beet leathers again–they’re much healthier the majority of fruit snacks you can buy in the store, and I like including a vegetable in a snack that the kids enjoy. I also like introducing my kids to the beet flavor, so they’ll hopefully be more accepting of eating beets in the future.
What do you think? Would you eat a beet leather?
- 12 oz frozen mixed berries
- ¾ c pitted dates
- 1 medium beet
- Set out the frozen fruit in a bowl to thaw
- Scrub beet and trim both ends
- Drizzle beet in olive oil and wrap in foil
- Bake beet at 350 degrees for 2 hours
- Let beet cool, and peel off skin
- Roughly chop beet and add to berry mixture
- Add ¾ c dates to beet and berry mixture
- Puree until mixture is pourable but thick
- Spread evenly on a parchment lined cookie sheet or dehydrator sheet
- Bake on fruit setting for 3 hours or in 200 degree oven on cookie sheet for 5 hours
- Fruit leather is done when no longer sticky
- Let cool, cut, and store in air tight container