A great way to preserve extra fruit or fruit with bumps, bruises or knots is to make fruit leather.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation at University of Georgia Cooperative Extension has helpful directions for making fruit leather:

  1. Select ripe or slightly overripe fruit and wash in cool water. Remove peel, seeds and stem. Cut fruit into chunks. Use 2 cups of fruit for each 13- by 15-inch fruit leather. Purée fruit until smooth.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or 1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid (375 mg) for each 2 cups light-colored fruit to prevent darkening.
  3. For drying in the oven, a 13- by 15-inch cookie pan with edges works well. Line pan with plastic wrap, being careful to smooth out wrinkles. Do not use waxed paper or aluminum foil. To dry in a dehydrator, specially designed plastic sheets can be purchased or plastic trays can be lined with plastic wrap.
  4. Fruit leathers can be poured into a single large sheet or into several smaller sizes. Spread purée evenly — about 1/8-inch thick — onto drying tray. Avoid pouring purée too close to the edge of the cookie sheet. Larger fruit leathers take longer to dry. Drying time in a dehydrator is about six to eight hours and drying time in an oven is up to 18 hours.
  5. Dry fruit leathers at 140 degrees F. Leather dries from the outside edge toward the center. Test for dryness by touching center of leather — no indentation should be evident. While warm, peel from plastic and roll, allow to cool, and rewrap the roll in plastic. Cookie cutters can be used to cut out shapes that children will enjoy. Roll and wrap in plastic.
  6. Fruit leather will keep up to one month at room temperature. For storage up to one year, place tightly wrapped rolls in the freezer.

For more information about making fruit leather, ask your local MU Extension Office for How to Dehydrate Foods, GH1563.