Saturday, November 15, 2014

Betsy Challenge 12: If They'd Had It

I had no plans for this particular challenge, and I was starting to get a little nervous. That's when I stumbled on this recipe from, you guessed it, Directions for Cookery:

(I swear, I'm giving Miss Leslie a rest after this)

Fruit leather from the 1840s! Make sense - if you have a lot of fruit, dehydrating it is an easy way to preserve it for later. Leathers can even be reconstituted. Fruit leather it is!

 The Challenge: If They Had It

The Recipe: Peach leather from Directions for Cookery by Eliza Leslie

The Date/Year and Region: 1840, United States

How Did You Make It: Fresh peaches are a bit hard to find in Minnesota in November, so I went with apples. I also had to decide how to handle the "leave it in the sun" bit - even if I wanted to risk leaving fruit in the sun (and the potential for attracting winged insects), there isn't enough sunlight to do it at this time of year, and we got hit with a really gigantic snowstorm this past week. I could have used a dehydrator, but that would make it more modern than I'm comfortable with. In the end, I decided to cook it in an oven on the lowest temperature possible (170, in my oven). I pared and chopped the apples, cooked them down with a little bit of water, added some sugar, and macerated the fruit with a potato masher. Spread out on two cookie sheets, it took about 8 hours.

Time To Complete: All flippin' day.

Total Cost: About $5 for the apples.

How Successful Was It?: Part of the center of the sheet of leather didn't get done, but the rest turned out well! Like a big, chewable, apple-flavored Fruit Roll-up

How Accurate Is It?: The apples are not an heirloom variety, and I obviously had to put them in an electric oven.

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