Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi break down an often intimidating branch of home cooking in their wonderfully accessible cookbook, The Gentle Art of Preserving. Stock up on fresh summer fruits and veggies while you still can—their recipes will let you enjoy them all winter long.

Try this recipe for a childhood favorite: Fruit Leathers! Choose your favorite fruits and get started.

Makes 1 fruit leather, approx. 14 inches square

Mango Leather

  • 1 large mango

Raspberry and Banana Leather

  • 2 bananas
  • 7 oz. of raspberries
  • juice of ½ lemon

Apple leather

  • 4 apples
  • juice of ½ lemon

Cut the fruit with or without the peel into chunks and puree in a food processor or blender. Pour the purée onto silicone mats or plastic wrap-lined sheets. Make sure the pool of purée doesn’t go over the edge of the sheets; smooth out by shaking and tilting the sheet to make it spread out. The purée should be no thicker than ¼in. Dry in the dehydrator at 135°F for 4–6 hours, or in the oven at 140°F for 6–8 hours. Fruit leathers are ready when they are not sticky to the touch, but can be peeled easily from the mat or plastic wrap. Lift the edge, which will adhere lightly to the surface, and peel it back. If it peels back easily, it is ready.


Either eat immediately or cover the dried leather in a layer of parchment paper and roll up, or cut into 2-inch-wide strips and roll up. Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place for up to 6 weeks, but do check regularly for any signs of mold. Alternatively, pack into vacuum bags and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

The Gentle Art of Preserving by Katie Caldesi © 2014 Kyle Books. Photographs © Chris Terry. Read our review of this book.

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