Fruit Leather Puzzle

September 15th, 2010

post image

Paloma loves to eat. In that way, we are very fortunate. It’s quite a rarity for her to turn down food, and she’s always eager to try anything I put in front of her. I’ll never forget an impossibly bitter dandelion smoothie that I made. No one could drink it, except for Paloma, who joyfully slurped down a whole glass. I dearly love to cook and feed people, especially family and friends, and her approval makes me one happy mama.
Our days usually start with me cooking breakfast and impatient Paloma sitting at the kitchen table, spoon in hand, narrating my preparations and hurrying me on. It’s quite humorous. She is not the calmest of children (a little tornado to be exact) and becomes very excited when food is in sight.

post image

This is where the idea for the edible puzzle stemmed from. I imagined a game that would occupy Paloma, and, since she puts everything in her mouth, be safe and tasty to eat. I thought about the obvious educational qualities of puzzles such as teaching about shape, colour, size, structure, and included two more – flavour and nutritional value.

post image

I started by making various fruit leathers of different colours. Mango, kiwi, blueberry, strawberry, pineapple, kiwi-spinach and carrot-mango to be exact. Then I decided on five basic shapes (circle, triangle, long rectangle, curved teardrop, and straight teardrop) and cut each one out in three different sizes. The simplicity of the shapes allows for much imagination when building a picture, the possibilities here are never-ending. It seems that room for creativity is one of the most important aspects of a children’s game, it encourages a sort of intellectual freedom and concentration.

post image

Well, it was a hit. Paloma is a little too young to be able to construct her own images, but she liked watching us do it, naming all the animals and things, and loved the fact that all the pretty puzzle pieces could be eaten.

post image

This type of puzzle would make for an interesting homemade gift. Or it could be a way for a more finicky eater to learn about the taste, scent, and colour of different fruits and learn to like them through playing a game.

post image

Bunny rabbits, cats, birds, tigers, bears and other animals, snowmen, butterflies, flowers, sailboats, the sun, pine trees, bees, and landscapes.

post image

You name it.

post image
post image

Fruit Leather
You can find many fruit leather recipes on the internet. Here, I just blended the fruit in a food processor. Then sweetened it to taste with raw honey or agave. Spread it quite thickly on Teflex-lined dehydrator trays and dried at 115F until leathery. Peeled off the Teflex, flipped, and dehydrated some more until completely dry. I made hard templates of each shape and used a knife and kitchen scissors to cut out the pieces.

Tags: children, dessert, food, food for tots, paloma, raw food, recipe, snack, special food

  • Rhia says:

    Great idea! My daughter is just starting to feed herself so I’m excited to try this too! Thanks :D

  • Nataliya Scarberry says:

    THIS IS BY FAR THE MOST UNIQUE THING.
    IT CAN BE SOOO MANY THINGS. FROM BIRDS AND CLOUDS TO LATER KANDINSKY ART. THIS IS GENUES !!! HAVE SO MANY IDEAS , WILL SHARE THEM WITH YOU ON MONDAY. AMAZING AND SIMPLE!!!

  • Karen Fowler says:

    Oh my, my you are sooooo creative!! I love it!!!!!

  • Kasi Bern says:

    BRILLIANT ♥

  • Neeta Bali says:

    Brilliant and so creative, you seriously rock!!! Thank you for all the sharing and bringing smiles, joy and value into our lives….

  • Sous Chef Sean says:

    What a cool way of educating, feeding and playing all at once. It looks too good to eat, although from the stories of Paloma’s epic appetite, that won’t stop her. Considering what you put in front of Paloma, who can blame her. Such a creative method of teaching and sharing with your child… good for you, lucky for her!

  • Wowee, you ladies never cease to amaze me! turning the simple, into the most beautiful treasures! :)

  • Gwynnie says:

    I am so inspired by your creativity. Thank you, for letting us participate.
    I have a practical question concerning vegetable leathers. I have often the case that they tear after dried. It never happens with fruit. I blend vegetables like red bell pepper, courgettes with flax seed and sometimes the leathers are full of leangthy cracks. Do I use too little flax seed? And why doesn’t fruit leather require flax at all?
    Any ideas?

  • Jessica says:

    This is such a sweet treat for a little girl. Your designs are beautiful and so thoughtful. I love the concept! Your pictures are great too. Thanks for sharing the fruit leather recipe.

  • Gail says:

    Beautiful! So Creative! ;)

  • Kara Lamb says:

    Your creastivity is in a realm of it’s own!! I just love seeing your posts ;)

  • Sue says:

    Your talent is just unbelievable, Anya! This is terrific!!

  • These remind me of Colorforms. Is that what they’re called. In any case, brilliant!!!

  • Holly says:

    I love this! I’m going to do this with my boys soon.

  • sara says:

    how cute and creative!

  • Serena says:

    I just stumbled upon your website…and fell madly in love! I just looked at every single post…and then I died! I was so WONDERFUL! I wish I could come watch you make everything for a month! You guys are doing great things. Thanks so much for the labor you put into this to share it with us!

  • Anonymous says:

    These are great! I love your ideas. Also, where did you get the wooden colored pencils in your pictures?

  • siri says:

    How fantastic! My son is SO close to being able to pick up small bits of food and feeding himself and I love to make food for him from scratch. I love the photo of you holding all the different rolls of flavors- they all sound so good! I’m definitely going to make this as soon as he masters picking food up from the table.

  • This is so beauutiful and unique. A wonderful idea brilliantly executed!

  • Zhenya says:

    I love the style!!! I am glad that pencils got useful :))))

  • Zhenya says:

    I love the style! I am glad that pencils got useful!!!!

  • Arlene says:

    What an inspiring blog! I fell in love with your food puzzles- so creative! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  • Silani Wahlgren says:

    Fun! I also drizzle the fruit leather slurry to make interesting shapes on the teflex sheets. I put these on the plate (once dehydrated) when I serve ice cream or other desserts as an interesting and edible garnish.

  • Caroline from France says:

    I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and your posts are always so creative! I also love the pictures. Thanks for taking time to share.

  • Golubka says:

    Gwynnie: Thank you! I’ve had that problem before. I usually add fruits or coconut meat to vegetable leathers and they don’t crack. I’m guessing fruit leather doesn’t crack because of a higher sugar content.

    Anonymous 9:07 – Thanks! The pencils were a gift, so I’m not sure exactly where they are from. But I’ve seen them around in childrens’ shops and museum gift shops.

    Silani: What a great idea!

    Thank you so much for all your sweet words everyone! You rule!

  • yafa says:

    you guys are freakin brilliant

  • That is the most fun educational game I’ve ever seen! I’d like to play and I’m definitely not a kid anymore!

  • Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful and fun idea! I love it!

  • COMMENT

    Email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *