Fruit Roll Up Help

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Chief Eating Officer
Jul 14, 2004
I made fruit roll ups in my dehydrator the other day. I just blended the fruit(s) and poured onto a plastic sheet and put in the dehydrator. The instructions said it would take between 4-6 hours and would be done when they were shiny and no longer sticky. Well at 6 hours they were still wet and it was bedtime, so I put them on for another 6 hours.

In the morning they were dry, but not like I expected. They were dull, not shiny on the top. The bottom of most of them were shiny. Must of them were brittle though. They were not pliable (except for the ones that were 100% banana) and shattered into shards when I tried to bend them. They still taste great and the kids can not get enough of them.

What did I do wrong? How can I get them to be more like store bought fruit roll ups? Do I need to cook the mixture first? Do you think they got shiny and pliable at some point, but then because I dried them so much longer they became brittle and non-shiny? I really want to get this to work right because I can see myself doing this a lot. The kids absolutely love it and while they have always been great fruit eaters this would be a way to make it easier. I do not allow fruit in my car (too messy), but fruit roll ups might be a different story. They are also so portable and such a healthy snack that I do not feel bad letting the kids (or myself or DW) snack on them instead of chips and cookies and other junk.
It sounds like they were over dried. The other thing to check is the temperature they were dried at.
Thanks Andy. I was guessing the brittleness was because of the over drying. The shiny part is what really has me scratching my head though. Do you think with less drying they might still have been shiny?

About the temp, do you think it might have been too high or too low? I had it set to 135 per the instructions that came with the machine.
If you went by the book, the temp should be OK. Maybe the shininess was lost with the over drying.

Another thought was that the puree was too thick to too thin a layer on the dryer shelf.
I don't think I can completely trust the book in this case because I followed it exactly and they were no where near dry when the book said it would be.

I made a variety of types. Some were quite thick while others were very thin. The banana was the thickest and those did do the best. I was able to roll them, with just a little breakage. They were not as pliable as store bought, but they were not brittle and prone to shattering either.
...I made a variety of types. Some were quite thick while others were very thin. The banana was the thickest and those did do the best. I was able to roll them, with just a little breakage. They were not as pliable as store bought, but they were not brittle and prone to shattering either.

Does this refer to their condition after 12 hours ? Maybe they all should have been thinner to cook in 6 hrs. Also, water content in fruits varies so you have to allow for that. I'm not sure that alone could account for the difference in time.
The thick/thinness I was describing was before drying. I supposed it was after drying as well.

Things like the banana by itself were quite thick (but still a pourable liquid). Things like the cantaloupe strawberry were considerably thinner.
I'm out of ideas. I guess you have to do some experimenting when you have the opportunity to monitor the process for longer.
GB: Leathers when over dried at a too hot of a temp will cause them to become brittle. The book is just a guideline it's not the bible. Humidity, different food purees, ingredients all need to be taken into account. Store bought leathers are full of sugars. That's where the shine comes in.

Give it another try. Lower the temp considerably. Dehydrate one select fruit at a time. Some have more water content then others. They will not dry at the same time if done as a mixed group. Start the temp at 100 degrees. The puree should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness. Dehydrate low and slow, that's the key.

Over ripe foods worked better for me then the just picked. It does take some experimenting to achieve the ultimate goal.

Here's a few links that might help. I completely forgot about concentrated juices!
Yes you can cook the puree down.

Making Fruit Leather or Fruit Roll Ups with a Food Dehydrator -

How to Make Fruit Leather
I'm really liking some of those recipes. Wow.. :)

Good luck

Thanks Munky. I will try lowering the temp considerably and also trying one fruit at a time.

The fruit I used was not over ripe. I remember reading that is better, but I only had perfectly ripe fruit and did not want to wait so I just jumped right in. I will try using over ripe fruit next time.

The strawberries I used were not super sweet so I did add some simple syrup to them, but just a little bit. The other fruit did not get any additional sugar. So are you saying that I will not get a shiny roll at all if I am not adding additional sugar?

Thanks for the links. Those look very helpful.
What I meant was store bought roll ups use a lot of corn syrup. They know kids love sweets and won't eat roll ups if they are sour. Or don't look that appealing. They want the kids to come back. The more you use the shinier it gets.

Like you I dived right in to trying new things. Nothing wrong with that at all. A confined box is a boring box. Don't take what I'm about to say in the wrong way. It's not intended to be taken that way. When I experiment around with making leathers, I don't worry about the "shiny" look, to me that's an aesthetic thing. I'm looking for taste, consistency, and above all else avoiding mold. Experimenting with using over ripe fruits, the natural sweeteners that they have. I didn't really need to add additional sweeteners. They were shiny, just not as much as the store bought one's are.

I've also noticed when using corns syrup the longer it takes to dehydrate the fruit. I added too much. The bottom flat side was very shiny, but not the top. Just sayin' :)

You have been a huge help in my dehydrating experimenting. Thanks Munky! This is all excellent info.
Have you watched the instructional videos on the Excalibur site? Here If you scroll down to the one that is Part 8. Half way through that video is instruction on fruit roll ups. I do know that if you cook your puree for the roll up it will come out more like the kind look in the store. If you don't cook the puree it will look opaque. Also never use sugar instead use honey or corn syrup in your roll ups.
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