Well, strawberry season came quickly this year, with the warmer than usual May. The first summer farmers market, I was utterly unprepared for flats of strawberries. But we bought one anyway. After a week of strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I scaled back to 4 quarts the next Saturday. But then Mom and the kids went strawberry picking (an annual tradition), and she sent over a basket (roughly 8 lbs.)
In that same week our friends offered us fresh picked cherries from the tree in their front yard. Some people have pool friends, I covet friends with fruit trees/shrubs. Anyone out there want a new friend?
By the end of the week, we were running out of ways to serve/eat strawberries and cherries, and the remaining strawberries were looking very sad indeed. So, I turned to the juicer and the dehydrator, which are the friends of sad looking fruits and vegetables.
I researched making fruit leather with strawberries and cherries and found several references to ensuring you have enough fruit pectin. But there was conflicting advice on whether strawberries and cherries specifically needed added pectin (such as from another fruit) or would hold together in the drying process on their own. A book we have also suggested adding liquor to the mixture for “adult fruit roll-ups”.
What I ended up with was a half strawberry – half cherry fruit mixture, laced with Cherry Heering. And I christened it the catchy Merry Cherry Berry. I will say, next time, I will need to drain off some of the liquid, or mix with a thicker fruit, because it was not quite the consistency to make the thick layer needed for a solid chewy leather when it’s done. It ran off the sheet (with the force of the blower), and didn’t look so great coming out of the dehydrator. But once Lois rolled it up and cut it into strips, that part wasn’t noticable (except to the picky creator).
We then gifted half of the Merry Cherry Berry fruit leather back to the friends that had picked the cherries. The reviews were rave. Now does anyone want a new friend?