I have not purchased fruit roll ups for my kids for years, mainly because my son can't have them due to dental issues. However, I can tell you that I will never buy them again. This recipe is so easy to make, and pretty hard to mess up. Substitute other types of fruit for the berries, if you prefer. This would be great with strawberries, apples, grapes, kiwi, or pears, for instance.
Just for kicks, I looked up the ingredients for General Mills Fruit Roll Ups. According to their website, you're looking at "pears from concentrate (so, okay... you're getting pears... but this list is supposed to be for the berry flavored roll ups), corn syrup (no big surprise), dried corn syrup, sugar, partially hydrogenated cotton seed oil, and 2% or less of the following: citric acid, sodium nitrate, acetylated monoglycerides, fruit pectin, dextrose, malic acid, vitamin C (absorbic acid), natural flavor, color (red 40, yellows 5 & 6, and blue 1). Wow. That's a lot of stuff. If I wanted to make that at home, I don't even know where I would by some of that stuff. acetylated mono-whats? hmmm.
The good thing is, home cooks can make something even tastier with fewer ingredients. I don't know that these homemade fruit roll ups cost less, or the same, as the packaged version, but you do get more than ten at a time, so I'm willing to bet that the price evens out. As for the taste, my kids loved them. My son even asked for more. That's something that rarely happens, even with fruit.
|he was happy to be eating it. he only looks puny because of a cold.|
4 cups fresh or frozen berries
Sugar to taste (I wound up using about a half a cup)
1/2 cup water
splash of lemon juice, to taste
Also, you'll need parchment paper, saran wrap, a blender, a couple of cookie sheets or rectangular cake or brownie pans, and an oven (or a hot hot hot day)
Cook berries, water, and sugar and lemon juice on medium low heat for about 20 minutes, though you could half this time if you are using fresh or thawed fruit.
Puree fruit mixture in a blender until smooth.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, allowing some extra to hang over one edge. Make sure to only use one piece of paper per cookie sheet. If you piece it together and have a seam, the fruit will run underneath and won't solidify. Trust me on this one! (I used saran wrap for this step, but I later worried about heating the plastic in the oven. So, you may see saran wrap in the pictures, but I don't recommend using it).
Pour puree into cookie sheets, 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Bake in an oven, preheated to 150 degrees for 8 to 12 hours. Or, leave the trays outside in the heat all day.
Roll-ups are done when they are firm to the touch. Let cool to touch, remove fruit from paper. Place fruit sheet on a sheet of saran wrap, roll fruit and wrap together tightly, like you're rolling up a newspaper, and cut into sections. Store in an air tight container up to a month.
Yield varies, but this made two cookie sheets' worth for me.