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Foodie S&M: Making Jerky and Fruit Leather

Posted on 18th Jul, 2011 by Andrea Cutright

Possibly too closely associated with 70s hippies, the fruit dehydrator is one appliance that deserves a big come-back. The timing couldn’t be better. Food prices continue to be a daily challenge, interest in healthy eating is at an all-time high, and planet Earth would surely benefit if we all cut back on individually packaged snack items so easily purchased at 7-Eleven.

Why dehydrate?

There’s also a sort of perverse Ferran Adrià-like pleasure in sending a common fleshy-object through a metamorphesis resulting in a food that’s tough, resistent, and saturated with flavor. You can just see him talking about transforming an ingredient, radically modifying its texture and form using nothing but temperature, patience and creativity. Thankfully a chemistry lab isn’t required to bring back this overlooked, breakthough cuisine.

Fruit Leather

Easier than canning. Good for a year or more! Use pretty much any fruit. What more could you want? Most fruit leathers come from first creating a butter-like pulp of cooked fruit that’s strained of all juices and run through a sieve to remove skins. Next, oil up baking sheets and spread the pulp out evenly, quarter-inch thick or so, and put in a warm oven with the door open so any remaining moisture can escape. In twelve hours or so you’ll have mountains of fruit leather and be the envy of any six year old.

Meat Jerky

Want to feel tough — so tough that everyone else should stand back a couple of feet? Then, tell them you make your own jerky. How, you ask? Let your creativity fly. Use any kind of meat. Marinade it, create your own rub, make it spicy or sweet. Jerky is all about the seasonings.

When you’re ready to cook, spread half-inch thick strips of meat on baking sheets and leave in an oven at 175 or 200 degrees for 6 to 12 hours. Jerky keeps for around a month.

Note: No special appliances are required to take these on but there are many that you can find here.

Food, we love you.

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Comments (1)

  1. 19th Jul 2011
    by Naomi

    Make my own jerky?? Who knew it was even an option? That is seriously bad-ass. Looks like my Christmas presents are already taken care of. Woo hoo.

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