Self-Sufficiency Series

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Making banana chips

Yesterday we came into possession of a large number of bananas, courtesy of our local Second Harvest. (We're the "clean up" family for this charitable food distribution. If there are leftovers available, they'll call us.)

I was glad to get bananas because I wanted an excuse to use the new food dehydrator we found for $12 in a thrift store. We had a dehydrator we'd found last year but it was in bad shape (as we learned) and the trays kept breaking bits and pieces off until they were shot. This new one seemed sturdier and in excellent shape.

First thing I did was spray the trays with vegetable oil to keep the banana slices from sticking to the trays.

Slicing...

Lydia was very attentive through this. She loves bananas.

She gets all the end pieces. Yum!

Two trays full...

Six trays full.

Plugged in. This particular dehydrator, I learned, is supposed to rotate but didn't since the trays were so heavily loaded with wet bananas. Doubtless this is why it was in the thrift store in such new condition. I decided, what the heck, I don't care if it rotates as long as the heating unit is working (which it was).

This morning when I came downstairs, I found that with a slight push the dehydrator started rotating. The bananas were dried just enough to allow the motor to work better. Here they are, half-way done. They should be finished by tomorrow.

Here's some of last year's chips. They're chewier than the crunchy bland store-bought chips and much, much better! Plus they're not full of sulfides or whatever else is used on commercial banana chips. To paraphrase Lydia, "Yum."

11 comments:

  1. Well, looks like you're in the chips! :)

    Does Lydia ever actually watch over the farm animals? She's got banana watching down pat.

    Anonymous Twit
    USA

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  2. I think if you spritz them w/ lemon juice, they won't turn brown (can you tell I have a picky eater in the house?)

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  3. Yum!
    I've been drying jerky and tomatoes on a cake rack over our fireplace with great results. Might have to try bananas too.

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  4. Debbie in GarfieldAugust 11, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    I have found a neat way to slice my bananas is to use an egg slicer. I get even slices and they are done in a zip. I love to buy the crunchy chips but have found that you need to actual fry the slices.

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  5. I think the commercial chips are actually deep fried -- can you believe it? Yuck. We are drying apricot fruit leather right nowl

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  6. How fitting! I just made banana chips for the first time this week. My first batch I ended up having to throw out because I didn't dehydrate them long enough. They started smelling moldy after just a few days. The next two batches I dehydrated longer and they will hopefully keep better. Do you have a good way of gauging when they're dehydrated enough?

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  7. Well it's about time you fed that poor pitiful little starving puppy! lol

    That's a great looking dehydrator. We keep a tub of sliced bananas in the freezer and use them in smoothies. We buy the 'red line' ones they mark down and put on sale. They're a lot less expensive and because they're a little riper they make better smoothies. We always try and buy organic bananas, after I had a bad reaction to some that had been sprayed. We've found the imported ones can be especially iffy where pesticides are concerned.

    A. McSp

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  8. Ooooo! I must get a dehydrator soon! First I have to finish moving in. That's depressing. LOL

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  9. I think about three days ought to do it. No guarantees, of course, but that seems to work for me.

    - Patrice

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  10. Patrice, I would love to see more posts about dehydrating fruit and leathers. I got a dehydrator about 1 1/2 months ago. You wouldn't believe all the stuff I have dehydrated and vaccum sealed in canning jars. However, I have had a hard time with banana chips and fruit leathers. The banana chips came out real leathery to the point they hurt your teeth. I will use in baking or something. The fruit leather, which I did add some honey to, would either be not done or crispy. I thought it would turn out like that Stretch Island brand at the stores. When you tear it, it reminded me or tearing cardboard. So, clearly I need some help with these two. I must be doing something wrong b/c everyone else on the blogs seem to do just fine making these products. I guess what I really need is more specific directions like the thickness of the fruit, what are people adding, about how long are you processing. The books are so vague on processing time b/c of the weather/humidity conditions. I probably need to know the product is done when it is like, "xxxxxxx." You know what I mean? Feel free to e-mail me or comment here.

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  11. I love the picture of Lydia eating the naner, she looks like she is smiling...my dalmatian blue heeler hangs out near our kitchen when I'm cutting veggies...just incase I need immediate clean up in isle four....her favorite is red bell peppers...I love the sound she makes when she is crunching them, always makes me giggle....in our house bananas end up mushed on the floor, and then eventually eaten...I guess they just needed floor spice!....Anyhoo love your blog
    Luna Nott

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