As I step outside and soak in the sights of Autumn, I can’t help but be in awe of the vibrant beauty that surrounds me. Countless shades of golden yellow and orange offer bold splashes of color amongst the green canopy. The occasional encounter with bright red foliage, courtesy of cultivated Japanese Maples found in city parks and suburban lawns, offers a stunning feast for my eyes. Autumn, you inspire me!
Down in the understory, the red fruits of Rose and Hawthorn pop out against sparsely leaved branches. These Fall fruit offerings are ripe for picking and provide nourishing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are helpful for boosting immunity this time of year. I’m inspired to make a tasty snack with these foraged Fall edibles. How about some Rose Hip and Hawthorn Fruit Leathers? These are sure to be a favorite treat amongst children as well as adults!
Here's how to make them:
-Approximately 4 cups of a combination of Hawthorn berries and Rose hips
-Honey or other sweetener to taste (optional)
Step 1: Process the fruits: rinse Rose hips and Hawthorn berries and remove any stems. Chop apples into small chunks.
Step 2: Place Rose hips, Hawthorn berries, and chopped apples into a pot with a bit of water. Cover and simmer on medium heat until fruit is very soft and mushy. Give the mixture a good mash with a cooking spoon or potato masher.
Step 3: Strain the mixture to remove the undesirable pulp and fruit seeds from the puree (Rose hip seeds are particularly irritating to the intestines and are known for giving folks an itchy butt!) . Use a fine mesh sieve, nut milk bag, or a food mill for this task. If you're using a sieve, mash the mixture with the back of a strong spoon to push the liquid through and collect it in a bowl underneath. If you are using a nut milk bag, squeeze the mixture through the bag with your hands until it's all squeezed out into a bowl. Discard the seeds and pulp etc.
Step 4: Add sweetener to taste to the puree, and stir thoroughly until well combined.
Step 5: Spread fruit puree onto a dehydrator tray lined with parchment paper. If you don't have a dehydrator, spread mixture on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and bake in the oven at the lowest temperature setting. Leave oven door ajar a couple of inches to ensure that there is air circulation.
Step 6: Once dried to desired consistency (I like my fruit leathers a bit chewy rather than brittle), peel from parchment paper, cut into strips and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!