Who needs store-bought fruit roll-ups with their dubious origins? Making dried fruit roll up style snacks are delicious and healthy treats that will have the kids begging for more.
Dried fruit including dates, raisins, figs, prunes, pineapple, mango, and apricots are an incredible source of iron. Dried apricots for instance, are a good source of beta carotene, potassium, iron, calcium, silicon, phosphorus and vitamin C.
The copper and cobalt in apricots is beneficial in treating anemia (yes it’s more than just low iron). In some animal studies, dried apricots were just as effective as liver, kidneys, or eggs in treating iron-deficiency anemia. Ounce for ounce compared to fresh, dried apricots contain twelve times as much iron, seven times the fibre, and five times the vitamin A!
When my daughters were younger, the fruit leather was a staple for them and helped me keep my sanity while grocery shopping. My dentist, however, attributes some of their dental health (ahem cavities) to it. So beware that a having a toothbrush or Xylitol gum on hand for after is a good idea. Do the same with any dried fruit–it’s all sticky, and gets in between the teeth or into deep grooves on the bite surfaces. Don’t let that put you off as this is a great once in a while or at home snack. Ensure they do a good clean up job afterwards.
I always have unsulphured dried apricots on hand. They are brown in colour, as opposed to orange, and usually organic. Turkish apricots, as they are sometimes known, haven’t been treated with sulphur. Why does that matter? In some sensitive children or asthmatics, it can create problems or wheeze. Conventional apricots are sprayed with pesticides as the bugs like them. If you can stretch to it, organic is a better way to go here.
Raisins and dried blueberries make their way into my granola recipe on a regular basis. I don’t do much with dried cranberries these days as most have a not-so-healthy oil and sugar coated on them. Read the label as usual. I do like Made In Nature dried fruit (except the cranberries) if you need a brand name to look out for.
When it comes to making these shapes or roll ups, whatever you have on hand will do a good job. I’ve based this recipe on one from a Jamie Oliver book I’ve had for years. We’ve made them a few times and kids love to be involved in spreading out the mixture and cutting out shapes with cookie cutters.
Home Made Fruit Leather