homemade banana chips

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For Christmas I gave Drew a food dehydrator. One of his favorite snacks is beef jerky, and he’s been talking about making it at home for a long time. I also thought it would be useful for preserving produce and herbs. (Go ahead – make the joke that this was really a gift for myself, I’ve already heard it!)

Anyway, I was really psyched to try this thing out, but didn’t want to go too crazy for my maiden voyage into the world of dehydrated foods. I had a bunch of bananas that were on the brink, so I thought banana chips were the perfect choice.

Making them could not be easier. Basically, it went like this:

1) Cut the banana into thin slices.
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2) Give the slices a quick run through some lemon juice. You can add honey, cinnamon, or jazz it up in some other way but I opted to keep it simple. While this step is technically optional, it helps prevent the banana slices from getting too brown.
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3) Place the slices on one of the dehydrator trays, leaving plenty of room for airflow. Three bananas filled almost two trays (I also threw a little cantaloupe on there just for giggles.)
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4) Turn the machine on and wait. And wait some more. And wait a little more. And just when you think they might be done — no — wait a few more minutes. All told I think it took about 6 hours of drying.
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And that is really all there is to it! When the bananas felt done, I carefully took them off the tray and stored them in a canning jar. For long-term storage you want something airtight, and you want to store them in a dark, dry place. But I knew these would not last that long.

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I don’t normally buy banana chips, but 2/3rds of my kids now love them. Jake and Noah both asked to take some for snack at school so I guess I will be making them more often. Honestly, it’s a great alternative to banana bread when those bananas are just a little too soft to eat. The dried cantaloupe was delicious, too!

I’m excited to experiment more: apple slices, zucchini chips, pears, watermelon, and of course herbs once the summer rolls around. Who knows, maybe I’ll even try making my own herbal tea mixes! So many possibilities!

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3 Comments

  1. My parents, when I was growing up, had a dehydrator, and they used it for a while but then lost interest. We did apple chips … SO YUMMY!!! The only thing I would caution against is the watermelon. It’s *so* full of water that it takes FOREVER to dry, and even when it does, there’s hardly any watermelon left. I don’t think that I would buy a brand-new one, but hmm, maybe I can find one on Freecycle :) That would be fun.

  2. Oh, this food dehydrator is so the Bancroft family. A machine that dehydrates plant products and makes jerky, who could ask for anything more?

  3. Each food dehydrator will work a little bit differently
    and the rate at which foods can be dried will vary accordingly.
    They run at very low heat from 85 to 145 degrees therefore creating a very safe and
    low wattage cooking environment. The USDA recommends this step
    to ensure that salmonella, listeria, e coli and other potentially harmful
    bacteria are destroyed.

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