A few years ago I discovered how to make my own “fruit snacks,” and I thought they were awesome, just because I didn’t know you could make them from scratch. But true confessions time, I haven’t made them since, LOL!. I put fruit snacks in ” ” because I am not talking about giving fruit as snacks, but using fruit juice and gelatin to make healthy alternatives to the manufactured, artificial gummy things that people call “fruit snacks.” My poor deprived kids have hardly ever had “fruit snacks” from brightly colored packages or the homemade, totally healthful alternatives. Maybe because even though the recipe is easy, given that you have gelatin, honey, and fruit juice on hand, it is so much easier to just give them real fruit.
Since moving to Arizona and coming into a bountiful source of grapefruit (over 100 lbs, it was much more, but we sold most of the boxes), I came across an even more “natural” alternative to homemade fruit snacks: dried citrus! There’s only so much fresh fruit my kids will eat in a day, and I need to preserve this gorgeous, yummy fruit before it goes bad. We’ve juiced a lot of it but I am running out of freezer space. Hence the discovery of #2 alternative to “fruit snacks.” I grew up eating dried bananas that my grandma always had in a mason jar in her kitchen, but I didn’t realize other fruits beyond apples, pears, and bananas can be dried. Dried grapefruit sounds weird, but I am telling you, these are sooooo good! I am all for just having real, fresh fruit as a snack, unless you are traveling and don’t want to deal with sticky, juicy fruit, and fingers. When you are hiking, watching a ball game, or riding in the car, these fruit snacks are the best because they are clean, 100% natural, and so delicious. They seriously taste like sweet, juicy, fruity sunshine is bursting in your mouth! They taste just like Starbursts or Skittles but these are 100% good for you!
Just take your oranges or grapefruit and cut them in quarter slices, about 1/4 ” thick, and put in your dehydrator. Dry for about 6 to 8 hours, until the fruit is totally brittle. You could take the skins off but I say why bother, they are 100% biodegradeable and come off more easily when they are dried. If you lack a dehydrator, you can probably find one used for a cheap price if you don’t currently have one. I’ve heard you can dry things in a hot car by putting the slices on a cookie sheet and leaving it on your dashboard on a sunny day but haven’t tried it yet. If anyone tries that please let me know how it works. Now we’ve got to go hiking or to my son’s ball game so we can test our non-messy-non-sticky real fruit snacks, with no quote marks!