Figure 1: Hand food mill and wand type 50litre high-speed electric blender (not to same scale)
The puree should be heated to 90 0C to inactivate enzymes and reduce the level of micro-biological
contamination. The use of a double boiling pan is recommended to avoid burning that can occur if
direct heating is used.
The next step is to prepare the batch. In many cases the flavour of fruit leathers is improved if the
acidity is increased by adding a small amount of lemon or lime juice. Many producers mix fruit with
semi-ripe banana. This reduces the cost of the product and the high solids of the banana reduces
the drying time. Other ingredients, such as sugar, nuts etc are added.
Finally the fruit puree is poured in a thin layer, approx. 3 to 6mm thick, onto plastic trays or wooden
trays lined with grease proof paper or plastic sheet. Some producers cover the whole of the tray and
cut the dry product into squares. Others pour the puree in circles about 20 cms in diameter and roll
them when dry.
It is recommended that fruit leathers are not dried in direct sunlight as there will be considerable loss
of colour and vitamins A and C. Indirect dryers, either solar or mechanical suitable for drying these
products are described in Practical Action’s Technical Brief - Small Scale Food Dryers.
After about a day or so, in a solar dryer, or 5 hrs, in an artificial dryer, it will be found possible to lift
the leather sheet away from the tray. At this stage the product should be turned over and dried on
the other side. Prior to packing fruit leathers are frequently lightly dusted with starch to reduce their
Fruit leather is normally sold in the form of a roll interleaved with greaseproof paper to avoid it
sticking together. Strips, of the required weight, are laid on a piece of greaseproof paper and simply
rolled with the paper. The final product should then be packed in polythene or polypropylene heat-
sealed bags. The latter, if available, are to be preferred as they provide greater protection against
moisture. The bags should then be placed into outer boxes to protect them from light. The product