This summer I have really realized how I go in waves of food obsessions. It is pretty similar to when I hear a song I like, I play it non-stop until I can’t stand to listen to it anymore. It’s the same with food. The second I begin to like or crave some specific kind of food, I go out and buy industrial sized levels of it. I am not kidding. A month ago my entire kitchen was filled with bananas. And I am not talking about my weekly 40 banana purchase. We legitimately did not have enough counter space for them all and ended up with bananas hanging from the cabinets and out in the garage. It was bad.
These huge buys are perfect for when I am craving whatever it is, but the second that craving passes and I am left with a garage filled with bananas, it is not the greatest thing in the world and I am left figuring out how to preserve or use the remainder of the food. Thankfully I love banana nice cream.
You would think I would learn after a while but the second that next craving rolls around, you can bet my fridge is going to be filled to the brim once again. It really is a vicious cycle. And if you haven’t been able to tell by the recipe’s title yet, this past week I was absolutely in love with oranges. On an average day, I was powering through six oranges easy (if not more). My body must have been pretty desperate for some good ol’ VC. It was actually really reminiscent of when I was making my vitamin C smoothies every day a while back. I honestly go in waves of getting enough vitamin C and then going through a complete withdrawal from it. Probably should try to level that out so I don’t end up with a garage filled with oranges next.
So when my obsession with oranges passed and I still had about 40 oranges left, I desperately needed to find a way to use up these little guys so I didn’t end up with wasted moldy oranges. Luckily, I remembered (attempting to) make fruit leathers while I was back at school. But sadly dorm ovens are not the most regulated ovens nor is it really reasonable to claim one for over 6 hours.
Although oranges are a different consistency from berries, I know that oranges dehydrated really well so I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did.
When I was in school I use to eat fruit leathers all the time. They were portable. Didn’t melt in your bag. And had that perfect level of sweetness that I really need about mid-afternoon. My biggest thing was that they didn’t make a sound, which is perfect when you are in a practically dead silent classroom. No one wants to be that kid crunching away on an apple in class. But even though this snack is a lot better than a bag of chips, since I could not make my own at college, the store bought ones still had preservatives in them that were unnecessary with homemade ones.
So, as you may have guessed, I was super excited to be making these because I had loved them so much. One of my main concerns was that they would end up being too hard if they were homemade. But as long as you do not spread the orange ginger mixture too thin on the pans, they will still have that delicious and fresh softness that you remember.
My other main concern involved the recipe itself. Besides knowing that I wanted to use oranges in my recipe I wasn’t really sure what else to use. I know that oranges pair well with a lot of different kind of flavors from other fruits to herbs to chocolate to even some nuts so I absolutely lost with where to even begin trying to create a flavor profile for this recipe.
Orange and coffee.
Orange and mint.
Orange and cherries.
Orange and almonds.
Have you tried any others? The list is endless. Thankfully, my sister has been having her own obsession this past week and has been adding ginger to any and everything after seeing her add it to a smoothie, which may sound gross was absolutely delicious. So, with the spirit of my sister’s obsession strong, I decided to combine the two together. Partially in hopes that she would help me finish all of the fruit leathers off because I know how much one recipe can end up making. The recipe did take a bit of clean-out-the-spice-cabinet vibe as I finished off the recipe, but the best recipes are made from chaos.
And, if I do say so myself, this recipe actually turned out pretty darn good. After I burned my first batch because I forgot about them, of course. I ended up making a couple of batches to just finish off the remaining oranges that were left uneaten. So now instead of a box of oranges in my fridge, I have a box of fruit leathers, which in this case is definitely the lesser of two evils.
You can either cut these into long skinny strips like a fruit-by-the-foot or into small 2×3 rectangles to enjoy. It all really depends on your preference. And the best way I have discovered to cut them is by using clean scissors and cutting them like you would cut paper. But please make sure that you sterilize you scissors first if you do not have kitchen shears. We don’t need bits of glue, glitter, or paper as additional ingredients to this recipe.
I would also recommend setting a timer for every hour or so. Not so much because they need to be checked on that often, but just to remind you that your oven is on and that something is cooking. It is amazing how quickly the sound of the oven running just became like white noise to me.
But besides those two tips, you can really do no wrong with these fruit leathers. The hardest part of the recipe is peeling all of the oranges. That’s it! They are a simple no-minded snack that only need a little bit of blending and then all of the effort is done. These will keep in an air tight container for up to two weeks or for a month if kept in the fridge. I hope this recipe helps if any of you end up in an orange overload like me or is just that perfect snack to finish out your summer.
- 6 medjool dates, pitted
- 5 naval oranges, peeled
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine dates, ginger, and cinnamon and blend until a smooth paste is formed. Remove paste from processor and set aside.
- Add oranges into processor and allow to blend until all chunks have been broken up into a more pulp like consistency. Add the date paste back into the food processor. Blend once again until all ingredients are well combined.
- Cover two 11x7 baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour half of the mixture onto each pan and spread out with a spatula until it is evenly covered with the mixture.
- Place into the oven and allow to cook for 6-7 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before cutting up into the serving sizes you desire and enjoy~
- This can also be done in a dehydrator if you own one.