• When possible, preserve fresh, locally-grown berries for the best quality and nutritional value.
  • Know when fresh berries are available in your state with this seasonal food guide.

  • If this is your first time drying or it has been awhile, it is recommended that you read General Drying Information before beginning.  
    • Only tested recipes that assure adequate destruction of bacteria should be used for fruit leather preparation.


1. Selection of Ingredients


  • Select ripe or slightly over-ripe berries. Do not use fruit that shows signs of decay or mold.
  • 1 pounds fresh berries will yield 2 cups puree to make one 13" X 15" leather

Pre-treatment Solution

Either of the following can be used to protect the color and help destroy bacteria during drying:

  • Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) 


  • Lemon juice

2. Equipment

  • Clean, food-grade dehydration equipment or oven with drying trays or racks that allow for good air circulation
  • Blender or food processor
  • Sheet pan or tray with edges
  • Food thermometer and oven thermometer
  • Plastic wrap
  • Storage containers
  • Airtight bags, plastic, or glass containers for refrigerator storage
  • Cutting board
  • Peeler and/or corer
  • Knife
  • Timer or clock

3. Prepare Ingredients

  • Thoroughly wash berries.
  • De-stem and remove bruised areas.
  • Place fruit in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.  

    • Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice or 1/8 teaspoon (375 mg) ascorbic acid for each 2 cups of pureed fruit.  
  • Optional: To sweeten, add up to 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup or honey to each 2 cups of pureed fruit. 

4. Dry

  • Most dehydrators come with specially-designed plastic sheets for drying leathers; line with plastic wrap or use non-stick cooking spray if specified in manufacturer's instructions. Wax paper or aluminum foil should not be used.  
    • If drying in the oven, line a rimmed baking sheet with sturdy plastic wrap (the kind that is microwave safe).
  • Spread blended berry mixture evenly over tray surface to a depth of 1/8 to 1/4-inch. Dry by dehydrator or oven.
    • Dehydrator drying: Place tray(s) into dehydrator. Set temperature control at 140° to 145°F or follow manufacturer’s directions. Drying time will be 6 to 8 hours. Test frequently for dryness (see test for dryness).
    • Oven drying: Set oven to lowest setting (140° to 145°F). If oven does not have low enough setting, beware of case hardening from too high oven temperatures. Place tray on oven rack. Check oven temperature periodically with thermometer. Apple leather should dry in up to 18 hours in an oven. (Note that the oven drying method is not as energy and cost-efficient as dehydrator drying.)

5. Test for Dryness

Readiness is indicated by both:

  • Touching leather in several places with no evidence of indentations
  • Lifting edge of the leather and peeling it back about an inch. If it peels readily, it is properly dried.
    • If leather cracks or chips, it has dried for too long, but is still edible.

6. Store

  • While slightly warm, carefully peel the leather from the drying sheet, working from the outer edges.
    • Roll in one piece or cut into bite-size strips.
  • Allow rolls to cool completely before wrapping in plastic. 
    • Place in clean, dry and airtight, food-grade storage containers. 
  • Store leather in a cool, dry, dark place. It will retain good quality for up to one year in the freezer, several months in the refrigerator, or one to two months at room temperature (70°F).

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1. Selection & Ingredients

  • Select firm, ripe berries. Do not use berries that show signs of decay or mold.
  • Pre-treatment Solution--any of the following can be used to prevent fruits from darkening:
    • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)- Mix 1 teaspoon powdered or 3,000 mg tablets (six 500 mg tablets), crushed, in 2 cups cold water 
    • Citric acid-1 teaspoon (5 grams) per 1 quart of cold water
    • Bottled lemon juice-1 cup per 1 cup cold water
    • Ascorbic Acid Mixture--follow manufacturer's instructions

2. Equipment

  • Use clean, food-grade dehydration equipment or oven with drying trays or racks that allow for good air circulation.
    • Many types of food dehydrators can be used and are explained in detail in Food Dehydrators.
  • Storage containers
    • Clean, dry home canning jars, plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids or plastic freezer bags
    • Vacuum packaging is also a good storage option
  • Large bowl (for soaking fruit in pre-treatment solution)
  • Large pot for boiling water (if drying whole berries)
  • Ice 
  • Bowl for ice water
  • Colander, strainer or slotted spoon (for draining fruit)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Timer or clock

3. Prepare Ingredients

  • Thoroughly wash berries.
  • Leave berries whole or cut them in half.
  • For berries with firm skins, dip in boiling water 30 seconds and then into ice water to crack skins.
    • Drain well.
  • For berries with soft skins (strawberries), soak in ascorbic acid or other anti-darkening /antimicrobial solution for 3-5 minutes.
    • Remove berries from solution and drain well.

4. Dry

  • Place berries in a single layer on drying trays. 
  • Dry at 140 degrees F (60°C) in an oven or dehydrator.
  • If necessary, turn large pieces over every 3 to 4 hours during the drying period.
    • Fruits can scorch easily toward the end of drying, so monitor more closely as drying nears completion.
    • Dry until hard and berries rattle when shaken on trays.
  • Total Drying Time: 24-36 hours in a dehydrator (may take up to twice as long in a conventional oven) 

5. Store

  • Store small amounts of conditioned dried berries in moisture-vapor-proof containers or bags.
  • Label packages with name of product, date and method of pretreatment and drying.
  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place or in the refrigerator or freezer.
    • Properly stored, dried fruits keep well for six to 12 months.
    • Discard foods that have off odors or show signs of mold.

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