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Straps of fruit leather on a plate

A tasty treat that lasts longer

By Beth Askham
Why not try your hand at some food science? It’s as easy as apple pie to make these fruit straps. Then, pop the fruits of your work in your lunchbox as a sweet and delicious snack.

You will need

  • Any fruit*
  • Sweeteners and flavour, such as sugar, honey and vanilla (optional)
  • Blender
  • Peeler
  • Knife
  • Baking paper
  • Oven tray
  • Oven
  • Oven mitts

*Need inspiration? Apples and strawberries are good together, as are apples and pears.
sharp hazard iconhot hazard iconfood safety hazard iconSafety: This activity requires the use of a sharp peeler and knife, a blender, and a hot oven. Ask an adult for help. Use clean hands and clean equipment.

What to do

  1. Cutting an apple with a knifeAsk an adult to help you peel the skin from any apples, pears or tough-skinned fruit that you are using. Carefully remove any core or seeds with the knife.
  2. Fruit in a blenderBlend your fruit until it is a smooth pulp. Add a little water if you need to. Make around two cups of pulp.
  3. Squeezing honey into a blenderIf you feel like it, you can now add a sweetener such as honey or sugar, or flavouring including cinnamon or vanilla.
  4. Baking paper on an oven trayLine the oven tray with baking paper.
  5. Orange gel spread over a lined baking tray.Spread your fruit puree on the baking paper so that it’s 5 millimetres thick.
  6. Place oven tray in ovenPlace the tray into a preheated oven set to 100 °C.
  7. Leave it in the oven for about two hours, or until your pulp becomes dry fruit leather. When it’s done, use oven mitts to take the tray out of the oven and leave them to cool for 15 minutes.
  8. Cut fruit leather into straps with a pair of scissors.Cut your fruit leather into snack-sized straps.

 

What’s happening?

Foods go off because microbes (MY-krobes) make them their home. Microbes are bugs including bacteria and fungi. Individual microbes are usually so small they can only be seen up close with a microscope. When they multiply, the groups of microbes look pretty gross! Sometimes they look like white strands, green fuzz, or brown slimy bits.

Fruit is sweet and watery, which makes it a great home for some bacteria and fungi. Foods that are dried last longer, as microbes need water to grow – just like you. When you dry out your fruit, you remove the water that these tiny living things need to grow.

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