College Cookbook: Crab apple fruit leather

Photo credit: Victoria Petersen

This time of year offers all sorts of delectable delights that are often growing in our own backyard.

Crab apples, which are small apples that grow from a tree, are very tart in flavor and go well with fall flavors like cloves and cinnamon. Typically used as a decorative tree, crab apple trees are formidable. The tree my boyfriend and I picked from offered us nearly 10 pounds of the tiny fruit after 30 minutes of picking.

If you are without a dehydrator there is a way to make fruit leather with your oven. That’s right, foraged fruit-by-the-foot.

This recipe can be experimented with easily by combining other fruits with the crab apples. I suggest blackberries or peaches.


4 tablespoons of water

2 pounds of crab apples

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2 cups of brown sugar

Cinnamon and cloves to taste


1. Cook down the crab apples in a pot with water, spices and sugar until soft and mushy and the sugar has dissolved.

2. Using a mill, push the spiced crab apples to create a puree. If you do not have access to a mill you can also push the crab apples through a sieve. The puree can also be enjoyed on its own as applesauce.

3. Spread the applesauce evenly over two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheets in the oven for 12 hours on the oven’s lowest setting, no more 210 degrees.

4. Check the oven every few hours or so to make sure the temperature of the oven doesn’t vary as time passes.

5. After twelve hours, take the baking sheets out and let the leather cool. Once cool, peel the leather off the parchment paper and cut into strips to share.