This month we are offering a couple of ways to make great snacks. One is Fruit Leather (an alternative to Jam for preserving sweet fruit) and the other is Roasted Curried Chickpeas. Kids and adults alike will eat all that is offered of both of these healthy snacks! The trick is making enough to meet the demand.
The first batch of fruit leather we made was from peaches. We had picked one of our peach trees and were struggling to find enough time and jars to process it all into peach jam. With 4 gallons of cut up peaches waiting to be cooked down into jam in small batches, we decided to put one gallon of them into the food processor and puree them. Then we cooked them for about 3 hours, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. After they had reached a consistency that looked thick enough we added one quart of honey from our hive, cooked a few minutes more and then poured into thin layers on parchment paper spread out on our food dehydrator screens. After one week in the dehydrator at the 120 degree setting, the leather was ready to eat! We ate some and cut the rest into strips the height of canning jars and rolled it up with the parchment paper still on it and put it into the jars to enjoy through the winter. With all the honey and sugar from the peaches the fruit leather stays preserved for a long time without growing mold or going bad. If you don’t have a food dehydrator, the drying could be done by placing the thick fruit mixture onto parchment paper on baking sheets and place in a 180 degree oven for about 4 to 6 hours until it becomes leathery.
Since that first batch we have made two more batches. One out of plums and grapes, the other out of pears and apples. All three kinds of fruit leather are delicious. We cut down on the amount of honey, since the peach leather was a little on the sweet side. The second and third batch we only added a pint of honey as sweetener. You could also use sugar if you haven’t started beekeeping yet.
Our second snack this month is Roasted Curried Chickpeas. Here is what you will need:
- 1 lb of dried Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 3 – Tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 – Tbsp Tamari or Soy sauce
- 1 – Tbsp salt
- 2 – tsp. Curry powder
- 1 – tsp. Cumin powder
- 1 – tsp. Chili powder
- 1/2 – tsp. Cayenne powder
- 2 – tsp. Lime juice
- large baking sheet (cookie sheet_
- Parchment paper
- Large pot or kettle for cooking beans
- large bowl for mixing ingredients
Soak the garbanzo beans overnight, then cook them in a large pot for 2 and ½ hours until nice and tender (you can substitute canned garbanzo beans, 2 cans is roughly the same as one pound dried).
Drain and rinse the cooked beans. Then make a brine out of your salt and soy sauce, adding enough water to just cover the cooked garbanzos. Let them soak for 2 hours in this brine, then rinse and drain them.
Now is the tedious part. After the beans have cooled and soaked in brine, you need to take the skin off of each bean. This takes a while, and it is most fun if two or more people work at it together. You drain the cooled beans and sort of squeeze them between thumb and forefinger so that the skin slips off. They don’t get the nice crispy crunch if you leave the skin on.
Next, put your skinned cooked beans into a large enough bowl to stir in the curry flavorings.
Add the olive oil and lime juice and stir to get the beans coated with oil. Then sprinkle on the powdered seasonings and stir to get all the beans evenly coated. Now, place the beans in a single layer onto parchment paper on top of baking sheet, and put into a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Ovens may vary so check the beans and make sure that they get the right toastiness. It may be 37 minutes for some or 44 minutes for others. Stirring the roasting beans at about 25 minutes in is also a good idea.
This tasty snack will not last long in your household!