The following are some of the most common questions I get from readers.
How do I make my own blueberry jam?
You can buy it at your local grocery store or online. You need to use a food processor to crush up fresh berries into small pieces. Then you add them to a pot with water and bring it to boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down until it reaches room temperature. Strain out any solids (and if necessary, discard the pulp) and then refrigerate or freeze the jam in ice cube trays until ready to use.
Can I make my own blueberry sauce?
Yes! Just follow these instructions.
I have never heard of using blueberries as a substitute for sugar in baking.
Is there anything wrong with this?
No, but if you want to avoid using sugar, you can always use honey instead. Honey is a natural sweetener and does not contain any added sugars like table sugar. However, honey will take longer to prepare than regular syrup because it needs time to steep before being used in recipes. You can make your own blueberry honey butter by heating honey in a pan over medium heat until it is liquid, and then stirring in berries.
Can I use fresh or frozen blueberries to make a fruit salad?
Yes, absolutely! You can even toss in some raspberries and blackberries to create a mixed-berry salad.
Does blueberry soup sound appetizing to you? What about a warm blueberry muffin?
I do not like fruit in my dessert.
Can I use something else instead, such as apples or pears?
Yes, that will work fine. However, you will need to add more sugar and cinnamon to your batter since fruit is less sweet than non-fruit ingredients. You can also try canned apricots or cherries.
Can I dry my own blueberries?
Yes, you can. Here is a link to instructions on how to do so. Just remember that they will be more nutritious and easier to eat if you dehydrate them into chips or turn them into powder.
My blueberry muffins have a grey film on top.
What is this, and how do I fix it?
It sounds like your baking soda might be going bad. You can double-check by putting a little of the baking soda in some vinegar to see if it fizzes. If not, you will need to buy some new baking soda because this is not safe to eat.
What are some tips for storing fresh blueberries?
Wash them and then dry them with a clean towel. Then place them in a sealed container or plastic bag. Do not wash your blueberries right before you want to eat them. Dirt on the outside can get mixed in with the fruit if you do this.
I have a lot of blueberries that are not quite ripe yet.
If I freeze them, will they still be good when they thaw out?
Yes, they will still be good one year later! This is a great tip if you grew or acquired more blueberries than you can eat right away. To freeze, just wash and pat dry with a towel. Then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet so they aren’t touching. Place in the freezer for a few hours, and then transfer to an airtight container, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
I don’t have fresh blueberries, but I do have a container of dried blueberries.
How can I make these more like fresh berries?
Some dried fruits need to be rehydrated before using. If you are not sure if your dried blueberries need to be, place a few in a bowl of water. If they float, they still have moisture in them and will not work for this recipe. If they are sinking, pick out the ones that are floating and crush them up before placing them in the oven.
I hate blueberries. I have tried to like them, really I have. The problem is I just don’t like their texture or taste.
Is there any fruit I can use to replace the blueberries in this recipe?
Yes, you can use blackberries or raspberries.
I don’t like dried fruits.
Can I use fresh fruit instead?
For this recipe, yes. You will have to adjust the liquids and starches to make up for the extra moisture content in the fresh fruit. You will need 3 cups of diced fresh peaches or apricots and 1/2 cup of water.
My fruit leather has small air pockets in it.
Why didn’t it come out smooth?
This can happen for a couple reasons. If the temperature is too cool, the fruit isn’t getting hot enough to evaporate all of the moisture, so it stays in liquid form and gets trapped in the leather when it chills. If the temperature is too hot, the sugars will caramelize before all of the moisture has evaporated, again leaving liquid in the fruit leather.
Why is my first batch not as dark as my second batch?
This could be due to a few reasons. If you made sure to use the same amount of fruit and sugar for each batch, then it probably is just the natural variation that can happen in this recipe. Even when the same ingredients are used, the moisture content varies just a little bit from batch to batch. The sugar will carmelize at different rates too. There is not much you can do to control this other than making each batch separately and not trying to make them at the same time.
The other possibility is that you may have overheated your oven. The caramelization happens much faster when the temperatures get too high. The solution is to simply turn the oven down 25 degrees and keep a close eye on your oven for the first few batches.
Can I use a glass pan instead of a metal one?
Yes, you can use a glass pan, metal pan, or even a disposable aluminum pans. Just be sure to adjust the temperature down by 25 degrees since the dark metal pans will adsorb more heat and cause overheating.
My fruit leather is scorched looking at the edges.
Overheating will cause the sugars to burn. This will leave a bitter after taste and a scorched looking edge. Turn down the temperature or be sure not to walk away from the oven when making this recipe.
The edges are white and haven’t caramelized at all.
What did I do wrong?
It is possible that you may have accidentally added water to your recipe. Water will prevent the sugars from carmelizing, so be sure to use the specified liquids in the recipe.
My leather is more like a brittle than a smooth leather.
What went wrong?
If your leather is brittle like this, there are a couple of different things that could have happened. First, you may have accidentally added water to the mixture. The second possibility is that you may have overheated your oven. Each time you open the oven door, the temperature drops and it takes a while for it to return to the temperature that you had it set at. Each time you stir the mixture or reach in with your hands, you are also reducing the temperature of your oven. Each time you do this, the temperature drops and it takes a while for it to return to the temperature that you had it set at. You will find that it works much better if you just mix everything up at the beginning and then just place your oven-safe container in the oven without opening the door or stirring anything until it is time to take it out.
Why doesn’t my leather look like yours?
If you looked at the other fruit leather recipes on this site, you will notice that they all look different. Some are really glossy while others look more dull. The main determining factor for this is the fruit. Some fruits have more natural sugars than others and will be shinier and glossier. For the most part, all of the different leathers will taste the same, but it is fun to see all of the different colors and textures each one has.
How can I make fruit leather with fruit juice?
Most of the time when people ask this question, they are thinking about making fruit juice into a leather rather than using whole pieces of fruit. It is possible to do this, but you will need to add some extra pectin (which is like glue that makes jams and jellies set) in order for this to work. It will still be a bit softer than regular fruit leather since the pectin helps to also thicken the mixture, but it will be more stable and you won’t see whole pieces of fruit in the final product.
I want to make a really large batch, can I do that?
Yes, just follow the directions as usual, but make several batches rather than just one. Each time you add a new batch into the pan, start with the pan on the highest temperature and then reduce the temperature by 5 degrees each time until you reach the temperature recommended in this recipe. It should only take about 5 pans to get all of your mixture made.
The main ingredient in this recipe is fruit. You can use just about any type of fruit. Many times you can even use store bought canned or frozen fruit.
You’ll need to do some experimenting though, in order to figure out how much fruit you will need and if you need to add any extra sugar.
If you can’t get any of these recommended fruits, it is still possible to make this recipe without them. You will just need to find an alternative. The first suggestion would be to look in your local grocery stores for canned or frozen fruit that is without added sugar or sweeteners.
You are looking for pureed or mashed fruit without any other additives. Another alternative would be to puree some berries that you find in your local market or even in your own back yard (as long as they aren’t poisonous). Raspberries and blackberries work really well for this recipe because they have a nice dark color and are naturally sweet. You’ll need 2 cups of puree for each cup of puree that the fruit you are using would normally be. If you can’t find a similar fruit, then you will need to add extra sugar. 1/2 cup of sugar for every cup of puree should do it.
Tips & Techniques
Make sure you use oven-safe containers that are suitable for use in the microwave and also oven safe up to at least 250 degrees F. Pyrex makes some good options that are readily available, but you can also use something like a glass casserole dish. Make sure to cover it with aluminum foil first though to prevent it from breaking from the direct heat of the oven.
You do need to use a fork or spoon with small holes to create the designs in the fruit leather. Just using a knife will be too thick and won’t allow the air to pass through.
You can use this same base recipe to make any type of fruit leather that you want. Just use your favorite fruit juice and puree some fruit to add to it.
In order to make other flavors, you will need to add more sugar and even salt to enhance the fruit flavor. However, adding too much will cause the mixture to not set up right. Be sure to always test your batches before making a large amount.
Pour the mixture slowly into your pan and even it out with a rubber spatula while it is still fluid. This will prevent large air pockets from getting in your final product.
If you are getting air bubbles in your fruit leather, you can poke them with a sewing needle to release the air before it sets up.
If the top seems to be setting up faster than the rest of it, you can place a piece of parchment paper over the top and then place a cookie sheet or something else that is flat over that. This will help to weigh it down and let the fruit underneath continue to cook.
You can speed up the cooking process by turning your oven to 275 degrees F after you have poured in the mixture.
The juice that is left over after you are finished can be saved for a couple days in the refrigerator and used as a healthy and tasty addition to your morning oatmeal.
You can also mix it with juice that you have left over from other fruit leather recipes to make different flavors.
Each batch makes about a 13×17 inch sheet of fruit leather.
If you want to get really fancy, you can add in some fresh herbs or edible flowers while the mixture is still cooking to give it a nice visual appeal and some extra flavor.
If you are feeling really adventurous, you can try to make your own fruit pectin and add it to the mixture to help thicken it up a bit. Making your own pectin takes some effort though so I would stick with store bought for your first few tries.
When you are cutting the leather into individual servings, if they seem a little soft and sticky feel free to put them in the fridge for an hour or two before serving. They should be nice and firm by then.
If you have any extra sheets, you can store them in between sheets of parchment paper in a cookie sheet or other container in a cool dry place for a few weeks. Make sure they are wrapped tightly so that they don’t dry out though.
You can also place them in a large Ziploc bag and remove as much air as you can before sealing it. Place it in the refrigerator for up to a month.
If needed, you can even place the wrapped leather in a tub of warm water for a few minutes to take the chill off before serving.
You can also cut the leather into strips before wrapping it up if you want to use it in recipes that need smaller pieces.
You can really get creative with this basic recipe and come up with fun additions to make all kinds of flavored fruit rolls.
For example, you can try using a package of flavored gelatin powder in place of the vanilla for interesting fruit flavored gummy candy type treats.
You can make a really rich and sweet version by using cream cheese in place of half of the shortening. It also makes a nice chewy texture too.
Make a tropical version by using real coconut and pineapple juice.
Use pink lemonade mix to make a fun and fruity treat.
Use three cups of mixed berries in place of the apples for a fun berry version.
You can also use frozen fruit instead of fresh if it is too hard to find good deals on fresh fruit. Just make sure that you thaw it completely before cooking it so that it doesn’t get cooked unevenly.
Have fun and experiment with different flavors and ingredients.
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Sources & references used in this article:
A short overview of bird control in sweet and sour cherry orchards—possibilities of protection of bird damage and its effectiveness by G Simon – International Journal of Horticultural Science, 2008 – ojs.lib.unideb.hu
Influence of anthocyanins, flavonols and phenolic acids on the antiradical activity of berries and small fruits by L Jakobek, M Seruga – International journal of food properties, 2012 – Taylor & Francis
Content of the flavonols quercetin, myricetin, and kaempferol in 25 edible berries by SH Häkkinen, SO Kärenlampi… – Journal of Agricultural …, 1999 – ACS Publications