I’m not going to lie to you: homemade grape fruit roll-ups are time-consuming to make.
Not only that, but they definitely taste best when you make them in a food dehydrator vs. a regular oven.
This is not to say you shouldn’t bother doing it! For me, the flavor and texture of homemade grape fruit roll-ups are 100 percent worth the effort involved.
I’m just putting this out there right off the bat so that when you make them, you can make sure that everyone who eats one of your grape fruit roll-ups knows that this is a true labor of love.
In my cookbook Classic Snacks Made from Scratch, I included recipes for both strawberry and apricot fruit roll-ups.
(If you remember apricot fruit roll-ups, or any fruit roll-up before it started coming in a swirly and unnatural blue-green algae color, then you are definitely one of my Gen X/xennial brethren. I see you!)
These flavors are still absolutely instant nostalgia bombs, but grape fruit roll-ups are up there with these classics on the favorites list.
And this year, I picked 11 1/2 pounds (!!!) of Concord grapes off our grapevine. This is a true world record for our little household and a chance to go crazy with grape-flavored everything.
Why not bust out the dehydrator and have some fun?
Disclosure: I received my Brod & Taylor Sahara dehydrator to test and review for EatingWell. Though it is always my policy to return loaned products to companies following testing or to pay for items I wish to keep, the company offered to give me the test model without reimbursement or sponsorship restrictions.
How to Make Fruit Roll-Ups
The process of making any flavor of homemade fruit roll-ups starts with making fresh fruit puree.
In this case, to make grape puree, you’re going to have to get rid of the annoying seeds in each little luminous Concord grape orb.
Squeezing the grapes is the easiest way to pop the insides out of their skins and into a waiting bowl. Just don’t throw away those skins; that’s where the gorgeous color comes from.
Simmering the grape innards (yes, they kind of look like weird eyeballs, get over it) breaks down the texture so the seeds can float freely.
Strain to remove the seeds, blend the strained goop with the reserved skins and some sugar, and you’ve got a basic puree.
But the grape puree is too loose and liquid at this point to go straight into the oven or dehydrator and become a fruit roll-up.
You’ve got to simmer the puree a little more to get some of that liquid to evaporate. Basically, you’ve got to continue the process of making Concord grape jam.
Pour the puree into a saucepan and let it simmer, stirring frequently, until it thickens and reduces into a saucy consistency. You want it somewhere between spaghetti sauce and full-on jam.
My trick for testing when it’s done is to scrape my silicone spatula across the bottom of the pan.
When the swipe I’ve exposed stays intact without the puree rushing back in to cover the pan bottom, I know it’s thick enough.
This trick works for any fruit you’re turning into thickened puree or jam—strawberries, apricots, grapes, peaches, cherries, blueberries…. basically, the entire orchard.
Once the puree is thickened, it’s time to spread it out into thin sheets.
If you’re making roll-ups in your oven, you can use silicone baking mats.
If you’re using a dehydrator, it most likely already came with custom silicone or plastic mats to fit the specific dehydrator trays.
Whichever way you’re going, you want to spread the puree very thin, walking a fine line between opaque and translucent.
Too thick and it will be like those chewy fruit leathers; too thin and you’ll end up with fruit brittle.
I use an offset spatula so I can get a nice, even layer and I work over the puree slowly back and forth until I’m happy with it. Take your time and you’ll feel when it’s right.
Finally, it’s time to bake or dehydrate.
Oven-baked fruit roll-ups will have a slightly chewier texture than dehydrated ones, since ovens can’t reach the low temperatures that dehydrators can.
Either way, you’ll have homemade grape fruit roll-ups that are bursting with fresh grape flavor. These are snacks you’ll want to eat slowly to enjoy each bite!
- 2 pounds Concord grapes
- 2/3 cup (167 grams) granulated sugar
Make grape puree:
- Gently squeeze each grape to separate the seed and soft innards from its skin. It's a little time-consuming, but easy to do when you pop the innards out into one bowl and save the skins in a second bowl.
- Add the grape innards to a small (1-quart) saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
- Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the grapes soften into a puree and the seeds are rolling around free.
- Strain the puree through a wire strainer and gently push the goo through with a spatula, leaving the seeds behind.
- Add the puree, reserved grape skins, and sugar to a high-speed blender. Blend until the skins have broken down and the puree is smooth. (If you don't have a good blender, you can use a food processor, though the skins won't break down quite as smoothly.)
- Pour the puree into a medium (2-quart) saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
- Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently as the puree thickens.
- It's ready when the puree reaches a loose, jammy consistency. When you stir it, it will leave a clear spot on the bottom of the pan for a few seconds instead of immediately filling back in with liquid.
- Congratulations—you now have a very basic grape jam. It's time to turn it into fruit roll-ups.
If you have a food dehydrator:
- Spread the puree in very thin layers onto the silicone or plastic sheets provided with the dehydrator. The number of mats you'll need will vary based on the size and shape of your dehydrator; I use 3 in my large model.
- Dehydrate for about 8 hours at 145 degrees, until the roll-ups are bendable and soft. They'll be slightly tacky but no longer completely sticky to the touch.
- My dehydrator has a two-temperature option that lets me start at a higher temperature for the first few hours, so I usually do 2 hours at 165 degrees and then drop it down to 145 degrees for 6 hours.
If you don't have a food dehydrator:
- Spread the puree in very thin layers on silicone baking mats. I usually need 2 11x15-inch mats for this method.
- Preheat your oven to the lowest setting—usually 170 or 175 degrees.
- Heat the fruit roll-ups in the oven for about 5-6 hours, until the roll-ups are soft and slightly tacky but no longer completely sticky to the touch. With this method, the roll-ups will be slightly chewier than in a dehydrator, but they'll still work.
To slice and store fruit roll-ups:
- Transfer the full sheet to a large piece of parchment paper, leaving at least 1 inch of open paper on each side of the roll-up.
- With kitchen shears, cut the roll-up into 3-4 pieces (again, size and shape will vary based on how large your full sheets are).
- Fold one of the paper edges over the roll-up and roll into a cylinder. Repeat with the remaining roll-up sheets.
- Store roll-ups in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 44Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.
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