Today we’re making Homemade Fruit Leather using fresh apricots. This was my favorite childhood treat, which is called “Qamardeen” or “Qamar
I have fond memories of my early childhood in Iraq. I still remember the excitement I felt when my parents brought home Qamardeen, or Middle Eastern apricot fruit leather. Unlike here in the states, where fruit leather comes in many different flavors, in the Middle East, apricot was the only flavor available. And guess what, we were totally content with that!
Qamardeen comes in a thick sheet that’s folded and wrapped in orange cellophane. As a child, I remember tearing into the Qamardeen packaging and ripping off strips of the tasty fruit leather to devour! You can still purchase Qamardeen at most Middle Eastern markets, or pick up a package on Amazon. What can’t you buy on Amazon, am I right?
Are Homemade Fruit Leathers Healthy?
When compared to store-bought fruit leathers, homemade fruit leather is way healthier! Besides being healthier, homemade Fruit Leather tastes so much better than store-bought leathers. If you are used to packing your children’s lunch boxes with boxed brands like “Fruit by the Foot,” you’ll love this tasty alternative. As an example, let’s take a quick look at a typical store-bought fruit leather label.
Notice the ingredients list: Sugar, Maltodextrin, Corn Syrup, Pear Puree Concentrate, Palm Oil, Carrageenan, Citric Acid, Monoglycerides, Sodium Citrate, Acetylated Monoglycerides and on and on… are you feeling guilty yet for feeding this stuff to your kids?
Now let’s take a look at the ingredients in my Homemade Fruit Leather: fresh apricots, fresh lemon juice, and sugar. Between the two, I think Homemade Fruit Leather is the clear winner when it comes to healthier snack alternatives!
How to Make Fruit Leather Without a Dehydrator
As I mention often, I love my Dehydrator. I use it to make Jerky, Dehydrated Pineapple Chips, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Candied Figs. Unfortunately, I’m currently in Montana, and my beloved dehydrator is in San Diego. Does that keep me from making homemade fruit leather? Heck no! That’s what ovens are for.
So if you don’t own a dehydrator, just use your oven. Set the oven to it’s lowest setting. I set mine to 180 degrees F. At this temperature, it took five hours until my apricot fruit leather was ready. Your time may vary.
Using A Dehydrator to Make Fruit Leather
- Follow the recipe until the mixture is pureed.
- Pour the mixture over the fruit drying tray of your dehydrator.
- Spread with a spatula in an even layer.
- Set the dehydrator on the fruit drying setting.
- Dehydrate for 3-4 hours, or until the fruit leather is dry to the touch, and not too sticky.
The Story Behind This Recipe
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by one of my followers on Instagram. She was referred to me by my friend, Katherine (of Cardamomandtea). This follower had asked Katherine for a recipe for Qamardeen. Katherine had suggested that she contact me since I have a lot of dehydrator recipes.
After giving her a quick rundown of how to make it, I promised that I would soon take the time to post a recipe with exact measurements for her to use. As promised, here is my Qamardeen recipe.
Homemade Fruit Leather Directions
- Wash and chop approximately 8 to 10 apricots, to equal 3 cups.
- Add apricots to a small saucepan.
- Sprinkle apricots with 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Add sugar and water.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool, then puree in a food processor or blender.
- Line an 18″ x 13″ tray with either parchment paper, plastic wrap, or a silicone baking mat.
- Pour the apricot mixture into the tray and spread with a spatula.
- Bake in a 180-degree F oven for 5 hours or until the surface of the fruit leather is dried and slightly sticky.
- Flip fruit leather onto waxed or parchment paper.
- Cut into strips and roll.
Fruit Leather Thickness
Middle Eastern Fruit Leather is very thick, as seen in the picture below. As a matter of fact, because of it’s strong flavor and thickness I can only eat a small piece at a time.
If you want to make thicker fruit leather, try doubling the recipe or using a smaller pan. Don’t forget,
Making Qamardeen with Dried Apricots
You can also make this recipe using dried apricots instead of fresh ones. Just make the following substitutions:
- Instead of fresh apricots, use two cups of dried apricots.
- Double the amount of water (from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup).
- You may need less lemon juice since dried apricots are usually more tart than fresh apricots.
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Delicous and healhty Homemade Apricot Fruit Leather
- 3 cups chopped apricots
- 1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
Wash and chop approximately 8 to 10 apricots, to equal 3 cups.
Add apricots to a small saucepan. Sprinkle apricots with 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Add sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from overflowing.
Allow to cool, then puree in a food processor or blender.
Line an 18" x 13" tray with either parchment paper, plastic wrap, or a silicone baking mat.
Pour the apricot mixture into the tray. Spread the apricot mixture using a spatula. Leave a few inch border uncovered.
Bake in a 180-degree F oven for 5 hours or until the surface of the fruit leather is dried and slightly tacky.
Flip fruit leather onto waxed or parchment paper.
Cut into strips and roll. Store in a plastic bag.