(Peach) leather and lace

Peach leathers may not be the most beautiful concoction, but what they lack in aesthetics, they more than make up for in flavor.

A few days ago, the hubs and I hit the farmers market.

I love this time of year, and our garden has been producing like crazy; however, since we’re still comparatively new at this and have limited amounts of healthy, fertile ground with which to work, there is still plenty of produce that is not sustainable or as-of-now even growable.

So for now, we supplement.

One of my favorite treats of this time of year is the peaches: They’re huge, the perfect mix of sweet and tart, and grown right here in Colorado. That’s right, the gateway to the Rockies has peaches … massive, fuzzy Palisade Peaches. Eat your heart – and your stone-fruit pits – out, Georgia.

Anyway, we picked up about 15 of the beauties on Saturday, and since their one downside is that they ripen quickly, that immediately set the clock to ticking. Fortunately there are about a million ways to preserve peaches, so you can have that taste of summer all year ’round. This is one of my favorites.

Peach leathers are honestly one of the easiest and healthiest treats in my arsenal. I have a sweet tooth a mile long, and so am perpetually caught in a battle between what’s healthy and a stress-induced chocolate binge.

Since I’m essentially a nutrition nut, these fill both roles and nicely cater to my peaceful-hippy culinary vibe.

(That being said, fair warning: When the first tray of leathers comes out of the oven, I cave to my stimulus-response brain and basically turn into a great white shark with a snoot full of chum scent. Get between my peach leathers and me, and I can not be held responsible for lost extremities.)

But I digress. …

These delicious desserts require two ingredients, a sharp knife, a single measuring spoon, a blender, some cooking spray (OK, make that three ingredients), a rimmed baking sheet, parchment paper, an oven and some patience.

Seriously, that’s it. And because it’s a straight 1:1 ratio, this recipe is easy to adjust to fit your culinary needs. Shrink it, increase it, whatever it takes; no matter how much leather you want, even the least-mathematical of minds (mine) can make the easy adjustments.

The result is a perfectly peachy, sweet, fruit leather reminiscent of the sugar-and-preservative-packed “fruit snacks” found in the candy aisle of your local supermarket. Only this doesn’t have any of the superfluous, artificial crap and tastes like actual fruit because it’s made with real fruit.

For this health-conscious sweets junkie, the simplicity, actual nutrients, lack of preservatives, added sugar or artificial … stuff … is a real gift.

Perfect peach leathers

1 large, ripe Palisade peach
1 tablespoon Grade A maple syrup

Rinse peach, slice it in half and remove pit.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Pop the entire fruit, skin and all, in a blender or a food processor fitted with the chopping blades. Add maple syrup and puree the concoction on high speed until it is totally smooth and liquified.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the paper with your non-stick cooking spray.

Spread a thin layer of fruit-and-syrup puree evenly over the parchment paper.

Bake at 200 degrees until the leathers dehydrate and turn sticky. This can up to 8 hours in a convection oven, so make sure you give yourself enough time (I assure you, it’s worth it). Or, start baking just before bed and indulge in a delicious-smelling home in the morning and a healthy snack-break during the day.