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Prep 15 mins
Cook 16 hrs
Sweet-tart snack that's great for kids and adults. This makes a big batch, but if I make less, I can't keep it in the house (it disappears!). Do check your oven temperature and be sure to keep the door ajar. Cook time is drying time - not active cooking!
- Line 3 half-sheet pans (11.5" X 16.5", with sides), with freezer paper, shiny-side up. Spray the freezer paper with vegetable oil spray (Pam).
- Clean and hull the strawberries and wash rhubarb.
- Chop rhubarb and place in a 3 or 4 quart sauce pan.
- Add orange juice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is soft.
- Add the chopped berries and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the honey and coloring, if using.
- Cool slightly, then puree using a stick blender (or CAREFULLY in batches in a blender or processor), until very smooth.
- Evenly spread about 2 and 1/2 cups of the puree on each prepared pan.
- Shake the pan back and forth gently to make an even thickness from edge to edge; and off-set spatula can also be helpful here.
- Make sure the layer of puree is as even as possible so it will dry evenly.
- Place pans in 150º F oven (I have a commercial oven that will take all three pans at once, but one or two pans can be dried at a time while the third pan waits - you might want to cover it with plastic wrap and chill it).
- Close the oven door, but keep it slightly ajar by placing a folded kitchen towel in the door.
- Let the leather dry for 10 to 12 hours (overnight is ideal), until it is dry but still pliable.
- Pans may need to be shifted in the oven occasionally to dry evenly.
- When the leather is no longer sticky, remove from the oven, peel it off the paper in one large sheet, and turn it over, right back onto the freezer paper it came off of.
- Turn off the oven and return the "flipped" leather to the oven, with door ajar, for another 1 or 2 hours to complete the drying.
- Peel the leather off the paper and place on a large cooling rack and let air dry for 2 to 4 hours.
- Your kitchen's humidity will really determine the drying times.
- Lightly dust with cornstarch, if desired, to reduce any remaining stickiness.
- Cut into serving-sized squares and roll up in plastic.
- You can also roll the whole sheet of leather into one large piece of plastic wrap and store it that way; cut it or "rip" it when ready to eat.
- Store in a cool dry place, or in the fridge or freezer.