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The Perfect Fall Snack: Make Your Own Fruit Roll-Ups

The Perfect Fall Snack: Make Your Own Fruit Roll-Ups

Words Jennifer Billock

Here’s how to make homemade fruit roll-ups that will get your kids helping out in the kitchen, savoring the best of fall flavors, and enjoying a delicious all-natural snack.

As a child of the ‘90s, you were almost required to enjoy fruit roll-ups. They were in nearly every lunch, in almost every pantry. Friends traded flavors at lunch so they could get what they wanted—and then unceremoniously wrapped them around their fingers for an on-the-go snack.

Those store-bought fruit roll-ups were, of course, loaded with sugar and preservatives. But thankfully, kids can still enjoy the same delicious snack while avoiding that stuff: Homemade fruit roll-ups are quick, easy and all-natural. All you have to do is puree the fruit, add in spices or other flavors, spread out the mixture, and cook it low and slow. Then, bam: DIY fruit roll-ups, a healthier and more fruit-forward snack for you and your kids.

baby in high chair eating

Homemade fruit roll-ups aren’t just a more nutritious option than the processed stuff. They also give your kids a chance to have fun making their own snacks and learning how to help out in the kitchen—and keeping clean while they’re at it. Once they’ve put on their machine-washable, mess-proof bib—its silicone pocket helps catch stray bits of food, and elastic sleeves cover up their clothes—they’ll be ready to go. While you will want to keep kids away from hot and boiling fruit, they can safely get hands-on with the fruit after it’s cooked and cooled a bit. They can help add spices to the cooked fruit mixture, then work with you to spread it evenly on the tray before it goes into the oven. After you cut up the finished fruit strips, kids can help roll them up.

The roll-ups will keep for about a month in a sealed container at room temperature or in the fridge. If it’s particularly humid in your home, store them in the fridge. And if you plan to store them longer, freeze them instead.

Now that fall produce is all over the farmer’s markets, there’s no better time to start making DIY fruit roll-ups to tuck into your kid’s lunchbox or keep at home as an afternoon snack. Try these three fruit roll-up recipes.

pears and strawberries and fruit rolls up on a tray

Cinnamon-Almond Pear Fruit Roll-Ups

Ingredients:

  • 6 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. Puree the pears in a blender or food processor.
  3. Put pureed pears and remaining ingredients in a pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil.
  4. Boil for about 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring regularly.
  5. Taste. Add more cinnamon or sugar if desired.
  6. Spread mixture over cookie sheet evenly, about 1/4-inch thick.
  7. Bake until the fruit mixture is no longer tacky, about 3 to 5 hours.
  8. Using a pizza wheel or scissors, cut finished roll-ups into strips, making sure to cut through the parchment too. Roll up each strip and store the roll-ups in a sealed container.
strawberry huller

Strawberry Balsamic Fruit Roll-Ups

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered (use the last of summer’s strawberries, or if using less-ripe strawberries, add a little sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor.
  3. Put strawberries and balsamic vinegar in a pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil.
  4. Boil for about 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring regularly.
  5. Taste. Add more balsamic if desired.
  6. Spread mixture over cookie sheet evenly, about 1/4-inch thick.
  7. Bake until the fruit mixture is no longer tacky, about 3 to 5 hours.
  8. Cut finished roll-ups and the parchment into strips. Roll up and store in a sealed container.

Chai-Spiced Cranberry Fruit Roll-Ups

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon chai spice (you can make your own with one part each cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, plus a smaller amount of ginger, unless you like it spicy; allspice and black pepper are optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment.
  2. Puree the cranberries in a blender or food processor.
  3. Put all ingredients in a pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil.
  4. Boil for about 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring regularly.
  5. Taste. Add more chai spice or sugar if desired.
  6. Spread mixture over cookie sheet evenly, about 1/4-inch thick.
  7. Bake until the fruit mixture is no longer tacky, about 3 to 5 hours.
  8. Cut finished roll-ups and the parchment into strips. Roll up and store in a sealed container.

**Note: For every recipe, you may use an immersion blender to blend the fruit in the pot once it’s heated up and soft.

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By Jennifer Billock

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