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If you’re like me, you love bananas. They are inexpensive, pack great nutrition, and are a great snack when on the run. The problem I have is there is a small window to eat them before they get too ripe. This makes them a great fruit to dry in your food dehydrator to preserve their shelf life.
Dried banana chips are great, but the commercially available ones have a bunch of added ingredients like sugar and coconut oil. Some manufacturers even fry them to give them a crunchy texture. You might as well eat french fries!
A much healthier option is to make dried banana chips in a food dehydrator. That way you have full control over the ingredients, and it is a great way to use fresh bananas that have become a little too ripe. Once dried, they can maintain their nutritional value and can last up to a year if stored properly.
Now let’s cover how to make them with your food dehydrator.
Making banana chips in a dehydrator
How ripe should the bananas be?
The ripe bananas tend to have a sweeter taste and lend themselves very well to dehydrating. Ones that are yellow, or have started to develop a few brown spots on the peel are perfect. Since you will have to slice them, they should not be too mushy.
What you will need
- Ripe bananas
- Lemon juice (if desired, to prevent browning)
- Banana slicer such as the Banana Slicer-perfect for fruit salads by Better Home. You can also use a stainless steel knife, but the slicer will make it easier to get a uniform cut which is essential.
- Food Dehydrator such as the Excalibur 5 tray
Step by step guide
- Peel the bananas.
- Slice into 1/8 to 1/4 inch chips. Try to keep a uniform size. This will help the dehydrating process.
- Soak the pieces in a bowl with equal parts lemon juice and water for 5-10 mins. This will help prevent browning.
- Strain the banana chips and arrange on the dehydrator rack in a single layer, leaving plenty of space around each chip. This will help promote airflow and help the dehydration process.
- Place the racks in the dehydrator and set the temperature initially to 150 degrees and dry for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours @ 150, reduce the temperature to 130 degrees and dry for another 10 to 16 hours, or until they are crisp (snap rather than bend) with a leathery texture.
- For best results, flip the chips over halfway through the drying process to evenly dry them.
- When finished, remove the banana chips from the dehydrator and let them cool completely before storage.
Sliced Bananas ready for dehydrating
The bananas should be slice into uniform slices approximately 1/8 inch thick.
Using a banana slicer is the fastest way to slice a large number of bananas for dehydrating. A stainless steel knife can also be used.
How to get the banana chips crispy
Commercially produced banana chips are fried and contain a host of added ingredients. To get a similar texture using a food dehydrator (but without all the additives), you can dehydrate them for a slightly longer time, up to 24 hours depending on the thickness. Be sure to test them along the way and stop when they reach the desired level of crispness.
Here is a video that discusses this in more detail.
What is the best dehydrator to use?
Almost any dehydrator will work. I particularly like the Excalibur 5 Tray or the Excalibur 9 Tray dehydrators. Excalibur dehydrators have square racks that hold more food. They also have flexible poly screen tray inserts that prevent items from sticking compared to rigid screens. This is especially important for bananas since they tend to stick a little more compared to other fruit.
Storing dehydrated bananas
Store in an airtight container or heavy-duty plastic freezer bag. They should be stored at room temperature. The pantry is an ideal place to store them.
Ways to use dehydrated bananas
I love eating them as-is for a snack. They are great for hiking or to take along on outdoor activities. They can be used as a topping for cereal or yogurt to add a little crunch and sweetness. When prepared properly, they can last quite a while and also provide a healthy and nutritious snack.