Dehydrating bananas. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and never got around to it until…..well, now. While at Costco yesterday I found bananas @.49 cents a pound. They aren’t organic, but that is okay. With their thick skins I don’t sweat it if I purchase conventional bananas. Plus the organic ones run at least .20 cents more a pound.
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(Out of all the dehydrators I’ve used, the Excalibur is by far the one I’ve loved the most. More expensive? Yes. However, it’s ease of use as well as it’s ability to convert to a yogurt maker and a place for my bread to rise has saved me much money in the long run.)
I think bananas must be the easiest thing to dehydrate in the world. Dehydrated bananas can be eaten just as they are, or re-hydrated and used in recipes like banana bread, trail mix and smoothies and blenderized diets. Dehydrated banana chips dipped in dark chocolate? Heaven, I tell you. Heaven.
When dehydrating anything you first need to make sure the area you are working on has been sanitized. Nothing like incubating bacteria as you are dehydrating your fruit. I may take it a bit overboard, but I prefer to be safe rather than sorry. I even wear food handlers gloves when working with anything I am dehydrating.
With bananas (you don’t want to use green ones or ones that are too ripe) you simply have to peel them, slice them (1/8 of an inch thick is good), place them on the dehydrator shelves, spritz them with some lemon juice and viloa’, you are done. I put my dehydrator on 125 when dehydrating bananas.
Seriously easy, eh?
Spritzing with lemon juice will help keep your banana chips from browning. Another way to make sure your dehydrated bananas don’t go dark is to slice them with a stainless steel knife. For some reason other knives will turn them dark. They will still be safe to eat, but not look as appealing.
If you don’t have any lemon juice on hand you can use orange juice, lime juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice or grape juice or even just ascorbic acid which is a fancy way of referring to Vitamin C. Crush a couple of Vitamin C tablets, mix with enough water to dip your banana slices into and you are good to go. I prefer to use a bottle of lemon juice that I’ve add the sprayer from a spray bottle to.
Wait? You don’t have a dehydrator you say? No worries. They come up on FB yard sale pages all the time for cheap. Really cheap.
Barely have the money for the bananas, much less than even the cheapest dehydrator?
You can dehydrate these beauties in the oven. Yup. In the oven. Just slice them. Spritz them with lemon juice or lime juice or orange juice or pineapple juice, cranberry juice or even ascorbic acid, place them on a cookie sheet and pop them into the oven at 140 degrees with the door propped open a couple of inches. Check on the bananas every couple of hours, making sure your oven isn’t going about about 140-140 degrees. If you have a fan, place that outside of the oven to help with air circulation, but that’s not a must.
Leave the bananas in for 8 hours or until they are brittle. I prefer to dehydrate my fruits and veggies until they are brittle so they will last longer, up to a year in an air tight Kerr canning jar, as a matter of fact.
How do I make my jar airtight? Simple. I use my Food Saver Accessory Vacuum Tool. Use could also drop in an oxygen absorber.
Maybe I read too many Little House on the Prairie books growing up, but there is something about preserving our own food that just makes me feel more thankful for what I have. Granted, I live in a place where there is a grocery store on every corner, but not often a budget that allows me to go and grab what I want whenever I want it. Having it in my pantry, purchased at the lowest price possible, and then being able to ‘shop’ my pantry is truly a blessing.
Do dehydrate food for your family? What sorts of things do you dehydrate? What recipes do you use your dehydrated foods in?