Okay, I know it would be best to just have my kids eat fruit and avoid fruit snacks altogether. And in reality, fruit snacks are a sometimes treat rather than an everyday thing at our house. But in my quest to take out processed foods I found a few recipes for homemade fruit snacks and thought these might be not only a way to take out one more processed item but also sneak a little more real fruit into my kids’ diets. For my 4 year old and 6 year old, lack of fruit isn’t a big problem. They’ll gladly eat apple slices or even sliced up strawberries (with sugar, but still strawberries). For my nearly 2 year old though… he’ll eat apple sauce and bananas… and that’s it.
My first attempt at the fruit snacks went like this… the ingredients are simply fruit, juice, a little sugar or honey and 2 packs of gelatin (much better than the crazy list of ingredients in our box of motts fruit snacks).
I used a bag of frozen strawberries (I know these are on the dirty dozen and you should buy organic, but hey, I’m also on a budget and so these were normal old frozen strawberries).
I added these to a cup of orange juice and about a fourth cup of sugar and cooked them until they started to fall apart and get thick on the stove and then pureed them in the blender. The recipe I found for the fruit snacks mentioned that you have to make sure to continue stirring when adding the gelatin in order to not have lumps of gelatinous goo. So I thought I was being smart by just adding the gelatin in the blender as well.
You’re then supposed to pour it onto a jelly roll pan lined with foil and let them set in the fridge for several hours and then cut into little sqares or use little cookie cutters. The result was okay. I thought they were decent tasting, but definitely not the right texture. Also, they were a little too sweet and one dimensional.The older boys ate some of them, but only if I strongly suggested it, and the little guy just threw his onto the floor. So, this was attempt #1.
Next time I will change a few things. One – I will not add the gelatin in the blender. This ended up creating a frothy mixture that led to spongy snacks. I will also double the amount of gelatin to 4 packs to try to get a chewier consistency. To fix the flavor, I think I will swap some lemon juice in for some of the orange juice. Will also swap out the foil for wax paper for ease of finishing them. I will definitely try again though since if I can get these right, it would be fruit other than bananas that Max might actually eat.