This rhubarb fruit leather brings back memories of the bright red fruit roll ups in the school yard. This is an affordable and much healthier version you can make at home. These rhubarb fruit roll up snacks can be made in the oven or a dehydrator.
You are going to love this recipe because it's
- dehydrated rhubarb - a creative and unique recipe to make something with the bright pink somewhat sour rhubarb.
- a another great recipe for the strawberry rhubarb flavor combination.
- healthy! all you need is fruit, some honey, and lemon juice!
- affordable, the main ingredient is rhubarb, if it's not growing in your backyard check with your neighbors!
- the perfect snack to bring for backpacking as it's light for packing, and nutrient-dense.
- only 4 ingredients needed, the recipe is dairy free, gluten free, and grain free.
Ingredients you need for Rhubarb Fruit Leather
- Rhubarb: tart yet so delicious! See FAQ on when your rhubarb is ripe! It can be pink, red, or green depending on the variety.
- Apples OR strawberries: chose which ever fruit you have access to or do a mix of both! (I tested this recipe with apple rhubarb and strawberrie rhubarb fruit flavors but you could also try other ripe fruit that you have on hand!)
- Honey: sweetens the tangy rhubarb, you only need to add a few tablespoons for this recipe. You can add more depending on your preference, however, the fruit will become a bit sweeter when it is dried.
- Lemon Juice: helps maintain the color of the fruit - making it brighter, as well as preserving it.
- Chia Seeds (optional): add these power-packed seeds to increase the nutrient density of fruit leather. I really like the texture of adding these seeds and found it dried my fruit leather faster!
Optional Add In's and Variations
Mix it up! This recipe method can be used for other types of other fruit too! However, rhubarb is the expception to a fruit you need to cook first. Using the fruit listed below, skip the cooking rhubarb step and go right to blending the raw fruit. Try using other sweeteners as desired.
- Tropical fruit: bananas, pineapple, mangos
- Stone fruit: apricots, plums, cherries, peachs
- Berries: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, saskatoons
- Other fruit: kiwi, apples, pears
- Sweetener: stevia, honey, maple syrup, cane sugar
How to make your own fruit leather
Follow the step by step photos below to make your own dehydrated rhubarb leather roll ups at home. See recipe card for quantities.
Cook the rhubarb: Wash your rhubarb by running it under cool water. Chop the rhubarb and place it into a medium pot with 1 cup of water in the bottom. Boil for 7 minutes with the lid on to soften the fruit.
Blend the fruit: Place the cooked rhubarb (including the water in the pot) into a blender or food processor. Add the unpeeled apple chunks or strawberry fruit, honey, and lemon juice. Blend until it is a smooth purée. Add more honey if you want it sweeter. Stir in chia seeds if you are using them.
Spread and dehydrate: Prepare cookie sheets or dehydrator trays by is covering them with parchment paper. Spread the fruit purée as thin as you can without any bare spots (1-2 mm thick). (The photo shows my puree not fully spread out). See notes just below about using a dehydator or the oven to dry the fruit.
Roll and cut: When the fruit leather is done it will look dry and feel tacky. Keeping the parchment paper on the back, roll the whole rectangular sheet of dried fruit. Use scissors to cut into 1.5 inch pieces (photo below).
Using a Dehydrator: Put the dehydrator on the fruit setting or 135 F to 145 F. It will take from 3 to 8 hours (maybe longer) depending on how efficient your machine is and how thick the fruit is spread. It will look dry and feel tacky when it is ready.
Using an Oven: You will need 3-4 cookie sheets for this recipe. Make it a bit thicker on the edges and thinner in the middle to help the fruit leather dry evenly. Place the cookie sheets in the oven as low as it will go (most ovens go to 180 F or 170 F). If you have a convection fan that will make the leather dry out faster. It can take between 6 to 12 hours to dry.
My Experience with the Oven vs Dehydrator
I tested this recipe in the oven, in a circle dehydrator, and a square excaliber dehydrator. Oven: I found the oven took the longest time (10 hours), and it turned the fruit a darker color because of the higher heat. The circle dehydrator: took a little more time to prepare the parchment paper in a circle shape, to dehydrate it took about 6 hours. The square excaliber dehydrator machine: had a good fan moving the air and so it took 4 hours and it was honestly was a little crunchy by then. I sprayed it with a little water until it became softer.
Blender (or a food processor): This is needed to blend all the fruit into a smooth puree.
Parchment paper or silicone mat: It worked well to make this fruit leather on parchment paper and the I could roll it up and cut into 1.5 inch chunks for the perfect fruit roll up. However using a silicone matt is more environmentally friendly. I just saw you can get specific silicone mats for the excalibur dehydrator which I think is going to be worth the investment for lots of dehydrating (I mean bring on the backpacking food!!).
Dehydrators (if you don't have one you can use your oven): I have used a round dehydrator and a square excalibur dehydrator . I liked the Excalibur better! More efficient in drying, better for cutting parchment paper the right size, easier to spread the fruit onto trays, and betters for cutting up the leather into fruit rolls once they are dry. Honestly look at the thrift store if this is something you want, I found mine there!
Using ripe fruit alongside the rhubarb will increase the sweetness.
Do not use wax paper, it will melt to your fruit leather.
If the edges of your fruit leather get too dry and even crispy, you can spray or sprinkle water on it to add more moisture back into the fruit making it softer.
To store them for an extended time, add a papertowel into the bag or container you keep the fruit leather in to absorb the moisture.
To make fruit leather you must line your trays with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Wax paper will not work to make fruit roll-ups or fruit leather, it will melt into and be stuck to the fruit.
How long the fruit leather will need to dehydrate depends on the thickness of your leather, and if you are using the oven or a dehydrator. When I tested how long fruit leather took to dry, it was 4 hours in the dehydrator at 135 F with a good fan inside and in the oven fruit leather (at 170 F) it took 9 hours for thinly spread puree and 11 hours for thick spread fruit puree. Fruit leather is ready when it is not wet to touch but tacky and slightly sticky.
Yes! To make fruit leather in your oven, turn the heat down as low as it will go (usually 170 F), and place your puree fruit on a cookie sheet covered by a silicone mat or parchment paper. It can take 6 to 13 hours to make leather in the oven (it took me 11 hours) depending on how thick your fruit is and how efficient your oven is. If you have a convection fan setting on your oven that will dry the fruit leather faster.
Rhubarb is ready and ripe when it is between 7-15 inches long between late April and July. It can be harvested until the frost however it is good to let the plant rest and restore energy for the next season. Rhubarb's color will not indicate how ripe it is as different varieties are anywhere from green to pink to red. It is best to twist and pull rhubarb stalks out rather than cutting them. I gathered this information from gardentherpy.ca where there is more information on how to harvest your rhubarb.
Green rhubarb can be used to cook with and eat. There are some rhubarb varieties that will never turn pink or red, they can be more sour and need more sweetener. You can use thick or thin stalks of rhubarb, the thinner ones are more tender and the thicker ones will need to cook longer.
If you dried your fruit leather too long, it may be more crispy like a fruit cracker, you can mist it will a little water to make it softer. Add a little water at a time to rehydrate the leather until it makes it softer.
More healthy snack recipes
Looking for other fun snack recipes? Try these:
Did you make these rhuabarb fruit leather roll ups? Take a pic and share it on Instagram & tag @besidethemountain. I’d love to see it!
Rhubarb Fruit Leather
- 1 blender or food processor
- parchment paper or silicone mats
- 1 dehydrator or oven
- 6 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups strawberries (destemmed) OR chopped apple (with peel)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoon honey
- 6 teaspoon chia seeds optional
- Place your chopped rhubarb into a medium pot with 1 cup of water in the bottom. Boil for 7 minutes with the lid on to soften the fruit.
- Place the cooked rhubarb (including the water in the pot) into a blender or food processor and add the apple or strawberry, honey, and lemon juice. Blend until it is a smooth purée. Taste and add more honey if you want it sweeter. Stir in chia seeds if you are using them.
- In the oven: 3-4 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Spread the fruit purée as thin as you can without any bare spots (1-2 mm thick). Make it a bit thicker on the edges and thinner in the middle to help dry evenly. Place the cookie sheets in the oven as low as it will go (most ovens go to 180 F or 170 F). If you have a convection fan that will make the leather dry out faster. It can take between 6 to 12 hours to dry. It will look dry and feel tacky when it is ready.
- In the dehydrator: Cover your dehydrator trays with parchment paper or silicone mats. Spread the fruit purée as thin as you can without any bare spots (1-2 mm thick). Put the dehydrator on the fruit setting or 135 F to 145 F. It will take from 3 to 8 hours (maybe longer) depending on how efficient your machine is and how thick the fruit is spread. It will look dry and feel tacky when it is ready.
- Keeping the parchment paper on the back, roll your rectangular sheets of dried fruit. Use scissors or a pizza cutter to cut into 1.5 inch pieces. Keep the rhubarb fruit leather roll ups in an airtight container.