Autumn Olive Fruit Leather

It's Fruit Leather Time Again!
October 2, 2010.
2950' elevation. Grayson County, Virginia.


The Floyd family gathered in Grant, Va this past weekend. Saturday morning we decided to make some fruit leather out of the fruit of an invasive non-native species: autumn olive, elaeangus umbellata. Heavy frosts and freezes will be coming soon to these parts, and we have memories of missing the berries last year. So, we picked, smashed, and dried...while the pickin' was good.
By the way, this invasive species is spread primarily by birds. In fact the seed will not germinate without passing through the gut of a critter. One can replicate this with sulphuric acid, muriatic acid, or other strong acid. The good thing about this is that those thousands of seeds picked during the process of making fruit leather will not result in new shrubs.
Here is an overview of the results.


After collecting berries:
We picked out the leaves, twigs, spiders and stink bugs, rinsed the berries, and placed them in a large cooking pot with a little water (enough to be seen down through the berries). The fruit was brought to a boil and removed from the heat. All of it was processed through a food mill (which saved a great amount of time, compared to last year). The resulting red goop was spread out in small shallow trays lined with wax paper and the trays were placed in a dehydrator (no sweetener added).
Remaining sweet-tart juice in the pot was bottled and refrigerated.

Challenge, again:
As with attempts to use parchment paper last year, the fruit stuck to the wax paper! The solution to this is to flip the dried leather over and brush water gently over the backside. This moistens the paper and loosens it from the leather.
Performance stats:
Pickers: there were 2
Munchers: there were 3 ( the pickers outpaced the eaters)
Amount: 28 cups in 1 hour (this far exceeds last year's production rates...the shrubs we found this year were heavy with berries) Servings: 56 (1 serving = 1/2 cup).
Fruit Leather: 28 cups of berries produced 270 sq. inches of fruit leather.

Nutrition:
Serving size: 100g (1/2 cup of berries)
Calories: 196
Protein: 3 grams
Vitamin A : varying amounts from shrub to shrub
Vitamin C: 9 mg
Lycopene = 17 x more than tomatoes, on average
(The berries contain the same carotenoids as tomato: lycopene, beta-carotene and lutein. The big difference is in the lycopene levels. They range from 15 to 54mg per 100g, compared to an average 3mg/100g for fresh tomatoes, 10mg/100g for canned tomatoes, and 30mg/100g for tomato paste.)