Dehydrated Banana Chips
Dehydrated banana chips are a great little snack, not only for hiking and other outdoor activities, but they are great for at home snacking as well. You can dehydrate them plain or even coat them in honey or cinnamon and sugar and then dehydrate. I prefer the plain ones because they are sweet enough as they are, and besides, coating them makes them really sticky and harder to work with, and they take even longer to dehydrate. They take long enough as it is.
When I see that bananas are on sale I will pick up a whole bunch of them and dehydrate them. This recent batch was bought at .29/pound so I bought 12 pounds and went to work...
1. Peel and slice bananas. You can slice them about 1/8 or 1/4 inch. Some people use an egg slicer, mandolin, or even a meat slicer, but I prefer just slicing them up with a knife. It's easier for me that way, and less tools to clean up! You may need to cut out bad spots anyway.
2. Spray banana slices with the lemon juice/water mixture. You can soak them if you want, I just find spraying them to be quicker. You don't even have to do this step, but I prefer pre-treating almost all fruits before dehydrating, just to help prevent oxidation and preserve their nutrients and their natural look as much as possible.
3. Put sliced bananas on your the dehydrator trays, making sure not to overlap them.
4. Dehydrate the bananas according to your dehydrator's directions.
5. Make sure bananas are cooled off before storing. I let the banana chips cool right in the dehydrator, then I remove the bananas and store in an air tight container for a day or two at room temperature.
6. Package bananas. My preferred method of storage is using canning jars. I keep one jar in the refrigerator for short term storage, and the rest I will put in jars, add an oxygen remover packet, and then seal up with my vacuum sealer. You can even hear it "pop" just like in heat canning. I then store these in my spare refrigerator in the garage. They will last a very long time with this method of storing.
7. As a bonus, I usually trim the ends off of the bananas so I actually have all slices, and not big end pieces. I then make a fruit leather out of the leftover banana pieces. No sense in wasting those little ends!
Beginning weight of bananas (in peel) - 12 pounds
Dehydrated weight of bananas chips - 1 3/4 pounds
That's quite a drop in weight, don't you think?