Corn Syrup Roll-up – Where’s the Fruit?

by kimgerber on 09/12/2010

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You know ‘em, those long, sticky, peel-and-eat rolls of sweet chemicals your kids love?  I just can’t bring myself to call them what they do on the package; “fruit” is just too far off what they actually are.  Corn Syrup Roll-up could work.  Or how about Artificial Color roll-up?  To make matters worse, my kids don’t even want regular roll-ups in their lunch boxes anymore, they want the ones that stretch to nearly a foot long!  So is it possible to make foot long real fruit roll-ups?  You bet.

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THE COMPARISON: Fruit by the Foot Strawberry vs. Out of the Box Strawberry Fruit Roll-ups

(All ingredients followed by an * can be referenced at www.wikipedia.org by clicking on the ingredient)

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FRUIT BY THE FOOT – STRAWBERRY by BETTY CROCKER

Ingredients:

Here’s a game for you:  Find the “strawberry” in the Strawberry Fruit by the Foot.  Can you find it?  Look harder.  No?  You win!  There IS no strawberry in the Strawberry Fruit by the Foot.

**All listed product ingredients are taken from product’s package label.  Though Out of the Box Food makes every effort to provide complete ingredient information, please check the package for the most current information.

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Out of the Box FoodSM Strawberry Fruit Roll Ups


SERVES: Makes 12, 14″ roll ups

TIME: Prep- 10 min
Drying time – 6 1/2 hours w/ convection oven OR 10-12 hours with standard oven

SUPPLIES:  blender, 2 12″x17″ jelly roll pans (cookie sheets w/ raised edges), parchment paper

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 baskets of strawberries (1 lb fresh berries)
  • 1/4 C agave nectar
  • butter for greasing

DIRECTIONS:

  • cut parchment paper to fit and lay into jelly roll pans
  • grease parchment with butter
  • hull strawberries (remove the stem) and place in blender
  • add agave nectar to strawberries and blend until well pureed
  • divide the strawberry mixture evenly between the two jelly roll pans and spread thin with a rubber spatula
  • heat oven to 150 degrees (do not heat higher than this or you may cook the fruit as opposed to drying)  If you have a convection oven, use this setting to speed up drying process.
  • place jelly roll pans in 150 degree oven with oven door cracked open slightly
  • when fruit is dry and no longer sticky to the touch (6 1/2-7 1/2 hours for convection oven or 10-12 hours standard oven), remove from oven and cut fruit with parchment still attached into 2″ strips.  Roll each strip around a pencil and place in airtight container (if your kids don’t gobble them up first like mine did!)

*These roll-ups can be made with any kind of berry.  We also made blueberry roll-ups which were delicious!

Though it seems like a long time to dedicate, if you prep the fruit in the evening and dry it over night, you’ll have fresh fruit roll-ups in the morning!  When I saw the litany of ingredients in those prepackaged fruit roll-ups, there was no question that the time spent would be worth it.  In fact, after inhaling the whole first pan of Out of the Box Roll-ups, one of my sons, whose tendency is to like what all the other kids like, said he loved these even better than “colorful ones”!  Another point for fresh!  Until next week…

Strawberry
Out Of The Box Fruit Roll-Ups on Foodista

© 2010 – 2012, kimgerber. All rights reserved.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheri August 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

How long can you store these without them going bad?

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Nan July 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I love healthy alternatives to processed food. However, agave nectar is not any better than corn syrup, and actually has more fructose than HFCS. http://www.foodrenegade.com/agave-nectar-good-or-bad/

Honey might be the most natural sweetener to use.

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kimgerber July 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Hi Nan,
Thank you for your comment. Honey is a great alternative sweetener. I too am on a journey to learn how to best feed my family and have been reading similar research. I have also read that Agave is lower on the glycemic index than corn syrup or sugar, so I will continue the research. In addition to honey I have also been using pure maple syrup or raw sugar when sweetener is needed. Thanks for the comment.

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Chi Chi May 16, 2012 at 9:50 am

Hi (almost two years later)…

I wanted to try my hand at making these for my son’s football team and wanted to know what you would recommend using besides agave nectar? Would honey work? Thank you!

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kimgerber May 16, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hi! Glad you’re giving these a try! I haven’t tried honey, but I’ve heard from others that honey works and I’ve also heard some have made them without any added sweetener and been successful. Let me know how you end up making them and how they turn out. Enjoy!

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Mollie March 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Hi!

I’ve tried this twice before, just without the agave..and each time was unsuccessful. I think its my oven temperature. The lowest is 170 so I would open up the door every now and again but the roll ups kept coming out kind of crunchy. Our oven also has a ‘warm’ setting, maybe I should try that instead? Let me know!

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kimgerber March 16, 2012 at 10:43 am

Hi Mollie,
Hmmm…not quite sure. I wonder how warm your warm setting is? I would give it a try since the goal is simply to circulate warm air to dry out the fruit puree. The fact that they keep turning out crispy does make me think too high a heat. Anyone else have any suggestions for Mollie?

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Kristen March 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Mine only took around 3 hours with a conventional oven and the edges were crispy…I think I may have made them too thin but for sure won’t take 10-12 hours. My advice is to try a lesser time frame and keep checking on them.

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staci July 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I use a similar recipe (2-3 TBSP of pure maple syrup instead of agave) and set them in the sun on a hot day for 6 hours. When I bring them in, I put them in the oven while it preheats to 170 (the lowest my oven goes) with the door open. Once it has heated up, I turn the oven off, but leave the pan in there. They come out perfectly!

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kimgerber July 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Glad to hear drying in the sun works! I’ll have to give that a try!

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Sheri August 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Do you cover the pans to keep the bugs out? All I can picture is the fruit puree acting like fly paper…eww!

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Coriena May 10, 2012 at 7:49 am

Mollie I think you are missing the step of wedging the door open the whole time with a wooden spoon. This will balance out the high temp that is the lowest temp of your oven. You ideally want around 130 (that’s the temp for fruit on my dehydrator. An oven will not go that low, even if your lowest was 150 I would still say it needs to be lower to dry it and not cook it.

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Helen March 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I’m so excited to find this recipe! and this site! My son has been begging for “fruit” roll ups for months, but I refuse to buy that chemical concoction. Just one clarification needed as to how many berries…in the comments it says both that 4 basket equals 1 lb and that each basket equals 1 lb. So, do we need 4 lbs or 1 lb for two jelly roll pans? I live in Canada and am constantly converting measurements from my recipes and websites to what I find in the store. My husband I’m sure would also like to know about the cost comparison, as John S commented above. I’m off to look up the recipe using frozen berries and start converting from ounces… Thanks!

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kimgerber March 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Hi Helen,
Thank you for the comment! I would use 1 lb of berries. When using frozen berries, I used 2 10oz packages. There is a bit of leeway here – Basically is just about having enough puréed fruit to coat the bottom of the baking sheet without being too thin or thick. Thanks again for the comment!

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mj March 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I love making these with my dehydrator in the spring, summer and fall, one of the big favorites is apple pie roll up, depending on how sweet the apples are is a matter of if I add honey from my local apple farm, with a touch of apple pie spice I can’t keep these around. I have found it is best to remove the seed from raspberries for they do become a little tough and you loose that silk like texture. It is endless of they type of fruit roll-ups you can make and never add sugar.

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Ashley V March 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Just found your blog via pinterest and I’m so happy I did! We’re transitioning to an entirely “whole food” lifestyle and I can’t wait to try these for my girls.

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Monica March 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Cant wait to try this!! my Hubby loves fruit roll ups!! :-) at least these would be healthy!!! :-/ Where can i find agave nectar? and would this work in a dehydrator?

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kimgerber March 5, 2012 at 7:41 am

Hi Monica – most markets have started carrying agave nectar which can be found near the honey, syrups or sometimes on the baking aisle. You can find a bit more info on agave here: http://outoftheboxfood.com/perfect-pantry-staples/. Thanks!

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Annalise March 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I just found you and am so excited to try this!!
When making them with berries, (Blue, raspberries, Blackberries) is it the same amount? 1lb?

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kimgerber March 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for the comment! I haven’t made these with blackberries or raspberries but I would start with the same amount (4 baskets or 1 lb). If you’re making with frozen berries use 2 10oz pkgs. Basically is just about having enough puréed fruit to coat the bottom of the baking sheet without being too thin or thick.

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Sarah Jay January 26, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Hi,
Just found your great site through Jamie Oliver’s recent email with your Health and Wellness 6 tips. That’s inspiring me to finally do something at my daughter’s school.

I’m wondering if you’ve tried these roll-ups using frozen strawberries or blueberries. I worry about the high pesticide content in conventional berries, so I only buy organic. At this time of year, that means frozen is my only option, and even during the summer, organic berries are hard to find. Maybe frozen berries would be too watery to work in this recipe, but if you have tried it, let me know!

If you have a recipe for apple or pear roll-ups, please post!

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kimgerber January 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Yes I have tried it! You can find the recipe adapted for use with frozen berries here: http://outoftheboxfood.com/2011/09/04/foot-long-fruit-roll-up-recipe-update-frozen-berries/. Thank you so much for your note! – Kim

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JohnS October 17, 2011 at 5:45 am

The health aspects of this recipe are obvious.
I’d be interested in the cost comparison.
Cost of ingredients and materials, running the oven for that long a time with the door cracked open slightly, etc…
Thanks…

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Cara September 9, 2011 at 9:48 am

I am so excited to try this recipe, I’m always looking for great snack ideas. I was wondering is there any way to incorporate vegetables into this along with fruit (I have a crazy picky eater so we have to be sneaky)? And if so, what combinations would you suggest? Also, could these be frozen? Maybe between freezer paper? My girls go through snack phases and I’d hate to waste these.

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kimgerber September 9, 2011 at 11:54 am

Hi Cara,
I’ll haven’t tried freezing them. I have refrigerated them which didn’t work. They got dry and stuck to the parchment. Not sure if freezing them would yield the same results but I’ll try a couple on the next batch and let you know.
Veggies…Good idea! I add spinach on occasion to our smoothies so I would guess you could add some spinach while you’re pureeing the berries or even zucchini. I believe both would blend well. I’ll also give that a try and share my results soon. Thanks so much for the comment & suggestion!

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Rachel August 24, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Great recipe! My boys LOVE fruit roll ups. Will have to give this recipe a try.

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Thippi August 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Thanks so much for this recipe! My kids always ask me for “fruit” roll ups & I refuse to buy it, now I won’t have to say no to them. They were super excited when I showed them your fruit roll up & can’t wait to try them with my kids :) I have a couple of questions though, how long do they last and what’s the best way to store them?

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kimgerber August 27, 2011 at 9:36 am

This is a tough question since ours have always been gobbled up within a couple days! I would say they would last a week or so stored in an airtight container. Let me know how it goes!

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Katie @ Healthnut Foodie January 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm

We love making homemade fruit leather/roll-ups. To save resources, you can purchase a reusable silpat. This is better for the earth and saves you money! It can be used with any baked good calling for parchment paper. Love your site! Found you via Tastespotting!

http://healthnutfoodie.blogspot.com

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kimgerber January 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Thank you, Katie. I personally have not used the silpat though I know many do. For me it’s simply a personal choice which is based in the same philosophy in which I view food: use natural. That being said, I have not seen any research on the silpat being anything but good so I’m sure it is a fine option. Because this is all a big journey for me I’d love to learn anything you may know about it. Thanks so much for your feedback and suggestion and you have a beautiful site as well! I’ll definitely be checking in with Healthnut Foodie!

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Susan June 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Given that parchment and Silpat are both nonstick because of silicone, I not sure about the difference…except that with parchment you could roll and slice for future storage.

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Joy October 3, 2010 at 2:49 am

Thank you so much for inspiring me to make some of these in my new dehydrator….it is spring here now and strawberries will be wonderful for this and I love the idea of blueberries…mmm…can’t wait. Thanks. :)

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joudie's Mood Food September 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

Simply wonderful…

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kimgerber September 26, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Thank you very much!

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sherry September 26, 2010 at 12:21 am

Can you use or do you have a recipe for other fruits rather than berries? Pears, Apples ect … fruits that are currently in season at this time.

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kimgerber September 26, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Yes, you can definitely use other fruit! There are some changes that would need to be made to the recipe and I will explore those soon and post my results. Thank you for writing!

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Erika September 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm

How much is one basket of strawberries?

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kimgerber September 25, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Hi Erika,
Thank you for the question. 1 basket of strawberries equals approximately 1 pound. I’m glad you and Nicole brought up such a very valid question! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

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Eric26 September 25, 2010 at 11:22 am

This is an excellent idea, but I’m not sure why you chose to use a partially hydrogenated oil which, as I’m sure you know, contains a large amount of trans fat. I’m sure you can find another fat of a similar consistency.

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kimgerber September 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Thank you for your comment. Out of the Box Food is a site dedicated to drawing attention to the ingredients in processed food. Our hope is to encourage people not only to read the labels and on our site, but to begin to read labels on the packaged food they buy. That being said, I believe the partially hydrogenated oil you are referring to is that which is in the national brand fruit roll-up we have posted on our site, and not the fresh Out of the Box Food recipe. Thank you for reading and please come back to explore our fresh alternatives to processed food.

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Nicole from: For the Love of Food September 25, 2010 at 9:27 am

These look so easy and delicious! We can’t get fruit roll ups here in Germany and I’d love to make some for my kids. How much does a basket of strawberries weigh in your recipe? We have different sizes at every store here!

Cheers!

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kimgerber September 25, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Hi Nicole,
So I went to the market this afternoon and weighed a basket of strawberries. 1 basket weighs approximately 1 pound. Thank you for the question and I hope you get a chance to give these a try! I’d love to hear how it goes!

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Mary September 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm

So in the spirit of full guilt, I must admit I was one of the moms that sent fruit roll ups last year for my girls’ birthday treats. I figured it was –albeit slightly — healthier than the usual suspects and less allergy prone.

I am totally excited to try the true healthy version!! Luckily my daughters haven’t really wanted fruit roll ups from the market but for a special treat so we are really looking forward to making this version together.

Meantime, quick question .. what do you think about the Trader Joe’s version? I don’t have any on hand right now but we sometimes buy them for road trips and other easy snack options. I seem to think the label reads “all natural” but this topic will certainly prompt me to check.

Tks again and we’ll let you know how our batch turns out … or be placing an order for one of yours!

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kimgerber September 28, 2010 at 9:48 am

Okay, Mary. I finally checked out the Trader Joe’s fruit leathers!! They do not contain corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oil in them as in the others. Trader Joe’s had two versions that I found: The Organic fruit blend wraps and the regular single fruit variety. The blend contains an assortment of fruit puree concentrates, juice concentrates, pectin, natural flavor and lemon juice concentrate. The single fruit variety contains fruit and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Just as my opinion, the simpler the ingredients, the better. I try to avoid the chemicals and corn syrup. I would (and do) buy the Trader Joe,s fruit leathers. But yes, let me know if you want a batch of the homemade ones and I’ll send ‘em your way!

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Susie September 13, 2010 at 7:04 am

I will definitely be trying these! My kids know that the boxed fruit roll-ups are just glorified candy, and we treat them as such…as a once-in-a-while treat! They are very convenient to have on road trips and such, but not healthy for every day–thanks for the alternative =)

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kimgerber September 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Glad you want to try them, Susie!

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