Yeah, I’ve got the dehydrator going again. I came into a bunch of bananas that I knew my kids wouldn’t eat before they went all over-ripe and brown, so I thought I’d get ahead of the game and dehydrate some into banana chips. To dehydrate bananas, you want ripe bananas. They’re not as good if they’re green and the more ripe they are the sweeter your dry bananas are, so I like to dry them at the “just right” stage.
When you dehydrate bananas, there’s actually a couple of ways to prep them. You can slice them into rounds or split them long ways into thirds and have “sticks” of whatever length they end up. I had a friend who liked hers the latter way, so I tried it once. A banana naturally splits into three sections if you start at one end and kind of work it apart by pushing at the center of the banana with your finger. Does that make sense? I’d show you a picture, but that’s not how I did mine this time. Each third comes apart looking kind of triangular and long. If you dry your bananas this way, they take longer to dry and result in a chewier end product. Not bad if that’s what you’re after, but this time I wanted little rounds. So I got out my handy “Butter Cutter”.
What? You don’t have a butter cutter? You’ve never even heard of one? Yeah, you’re perfectly normal then. I got this from my fabulous mother for my birthday last year (along with some other random kitchen gadgets you’ve never heard of) after she found it in the discarded gear from a school kitchen and apparently thought of me. Strange but true. You only wish you got such amazing gifts from your mom. I thought I might never find a use for it other than slicing globs of play dough, but when I needed uniformly sliced bananas, voila, the Butter Cutter to the rescue.
If you don’t have a butter cutter, you can use your egg slicer or even just a plain old knife. My egg slicer would slice a bit thinner than the butter cutter which is fine. The idea behind getting uniform slices is that they will all dry at the same rate so you won’t have some crispy and some still gooey in the middle. It’s nice, but not totally necessary.
After slicing the bananas, I put them in a solution of water and Fruit Fresh. About 1 TB fruit fresh to approximately 1 quart of water. Okay, I didn’t measure the water, I’m just guessing it was about a quart.
This is to keep the color from going brown in the end product. You could also soak them in lemon juice or pineapple juice–the acidity is what keeps them from looking brown.
Then I loaded them on the trays. It’s best if they’re not touching so they don’t end up all stuck together in one big banana chip mass at the end.
I dried them about 12 hours. They are crispy on the edges, but still chewy. Not hard as a rock.
I only filled two trays with the bananas I had. I don’t expect these to last. I won’t be storing them–I’m putting them in a jar that is accessible and am just going to let them get eaten. If you’re planning to store long term, dry them a little harder just to be safe and store in an airtight container like a jar or Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.
Keep preparing! Angela
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I assume it is the humidity down here, but every time I make banana chips, I dry them for DAYS and DAYS and they are still chewy. They never ever get crispy, even on the edges. This is totally fine with me, but I have had to rename them "banana chews" instead of "banana chips" so as not to mislead my friends.
Store bought banana chips that are crispy are fried. Home dehydrated banana chips are chewy. I always loved eating banana chips at my Gramma’s house as a kid. She always had one of those huge mason jars filled with them. Later on as a teen I saw banana chips at the store and got all excited and bought a bag. Dry, greasy, disappointment. Just got my first dehydrator and can’t wait to make some good old fashioned banana chips/chews!
Be SURE to store your finished dehydrated fruits, veggies, and spices in Glass Jars, with tight seals.
Also, FYI Most of what you dehydrate in any Dehydrator at home, the color may turn dark, because you are doing ALL NATURAL. If you have an Excalaber Dehydrator, as I do. The book tells how to prepare certain fruits to help the coloring not turn dark on your fruit. But even that, keep in mind what you buy in the store is not all Natural. There are preservatives in them to keep their color and shape. Which isn’t healthy for you. It really doesn’t matter if the fruit you dehydrate turns darker, it’s a natural process, with no additives. If you are hungry enough, you’ll be glad to have all the all natural you can get to eat.
TM Frugal Gourmet says
I am jealous of your butter slicer! I can't find a decent one! Guess I'll have to hit an estate sale. BUT, thank you for the idea, I have 3 brown bananas on my counter trying to figure out what to make, and banana chips sound easy! I will use my used excaliber 5 tray. Thanks!
Stephen Harris says
You could try ebay &/or ETSY. All manner of good kitchen equipment shows up there.
Aaron Smith says
Bed bath and beyond has them.
Savings Queen says
If you do not have a butter slicer….Use an egg cutter. The kind for cutting hard boiled eggs. I use mine to cut bananas, strawberries, mushrooms, and eggs.
Thanks for the post.
How about just cutting them with a butter knife as I have done in the past. Works well and saves you money from buying a special slicer
How long did you soak the banana pieces in the water and fruit fresh?
Cliff, they weren't in very long, probably 5-10 minutes. I put them in as I sliced until the bowl was full, then let them sit while I got the dehydrator tray out and then started taking them out and loading the tray.
you know that I love fresh bananas, but I have never liked bananas dehydrated or in puddings. I only like Fresh bananas or banana bread. I know I'm weird.
Kurt and Courtney says
I'm pretty sure that I now need a butter slicer. And I love your blog! It was so good to see you all at the wedding!
Chef Tess says
Ohmeeegosh. That is brilliant! Grinding those bad boys in a spice grinder after dehydrating and making banana bread mix…and cookie mixes…and and and…oooooh I'm so excited. Thank you!
Here's a link to a great banana slicer on the Excalibur website.
sir your link is out dated , try this one instead…………………………………………………
My husband loves the banana “sticks” as you call them…and to be honest, I like them better, too. It’s very fascinating to me how they naturally split into three. :) What temperature would you recommend to dehydrate them? We’ve done 105, it took over a day, possibly more…I kinda lost track. Help, please!
Laura, I dry bananas at 135 but they still take forever, especially the long segments!
Laura, because of your comment I decided to try the “sticks” instead — they’re in the dehydrator now! I was sure I wouldn’t be able to get them to split into three because they are at that perfectly ripe stage just before they are only good for banana bread, but it did work (and was, like you say, fascinating).
ruth ann says
dehydrate bananas at 135 degrees. I have an excalibur and that is what they recommend. I dehydrate them at that temp and it works fine. Seems like it takes somewhere between 12 hours and 18 hours depending on how thick you slice them and how dry you like them. I sprinkle them with fruit fresh (its a powder) and they are delicious.
ruth ann says
The fruit fresh is to stop the browning and its done before you dry them. Sorry I left this off my previous post,
Can I sprinkle a little cinnamon on the chips,after they are on the dehydrator trays,before drying begins?
Absolutely. That’s part of the fun of dehydrating your own foods–you can experiment and customize them how you like. :)
karen hinnen says
I never get crisp ones like you buy in the store either. I have done apples sprinkled with a little sugar and cinnamon and they taste just like apple pie without the mess.
Mine have stuck to the dehydrator trays :(
Sam, I clicked the wrong reply button. My comment lower down was for you. :)
No need to go searching for a butter slicer, I have one of these http://www.amazon.co.uk/Andrew-James-UK-LTD-Banana/dp/B003V53BPM…
Had to share!
Sam, I think that may mean that you need(ed) to turn them, or loosen them by peeling off and replacing them, before they were so dry that they were hard to peel off. It’s been years but I seem to remember they kind of sink into the mesh as they dry, depending on how soft they are, and need to be turned partway through. I wonder if a spatula would do the job if turning took too long. The post doesn’t mention this, maybe she didn’t have this problem, her bananas look quite firm.
is there a way to get bananas to be more of a chip rather than like leather? how do they do it when you buy them in a store? we have a 2500 excalibur. thanks, jack
I’m not sure what the commercial dryers do to get theirs crispy like they are. Mine always turn out leathery.
When you buy them in a store they were not dehydrated, the were fried in peanut oil.
Cut them really thin, and let cool in a jar with a little salt. That’s how I made it crispy took about 12-19 hrs in the dehydrator. Once it’s cool I can snap them in half easily.
I cut up one banana today and placed the slices on top of my outside A/C unit (it was turned off so they wouldn’t blow away). The sun was blazing and the temp was around 100 degrees. They made nice chewy chips in about 6 hours. That butter cutter seems to slice them way too thick. And I didn’t use Fruit Fresh and they didn’t come out brown. The ones in your picture are VERY brown, so it seems that the Fruit Fresh didn’t have any effect (maybe only psychologically).
Regarding the crisp/ hard commercial dehydrated bananas. Mainly from vacuum frying rather than low temperature air dehydration
Practical Parsimony says
I left bananas in the dehydrator for three days. the last day was because I was too tired to take them off. I took a huge, wide bowl and flexed the Excalibur trays, one way and then to the other direction. Most came off that way. I quit turning any kind of chip I dehydrate and they come off, last months, and are delicious. At $0.39/lb, who can resist. Right now, there are five more trays in the dehydrator with bananas. I dry them to a crisp so they will not mold.
Next, celery and onions.
i havent tried it, but ive read recipes where you can make them crisp by lightly pan frying them to a golden brown in some coconut oil, patting them dry, then dehydrating them. again youd want to soak them in water/lemon first to preserve the colour
Thanks – have not seen the fruit fresh listed elsewhere – that’s exactly what i am looking for.
I found the butter cutters on Ebay for those who are looking for one.
Rick Bawden says
I dry some nannies length ways they do take a while and remain chewy but I also smoked them.
Sweet smokey fruit bars they were great give it a try.
Smoking anything is carcinogenic. Just sayin’.
david harvey says
really….??? it is a BANANA !!! just use … a….. KNIFE !!!! LOLLL !!!!
But why when a butter cutter is so much more interesting! ;)
I thought the same thing until I decided to dehydrate some. Dehydrator instructions say to cut uniform thickness slices for consistent drying; I’d rather have mine perfectly uniform with one motion rather than trying to cut them into even slices. Might not be an issue for some people though…
Jeanette Thomas says
I just ordered me a dehydrator and I am a novice of all novices. I would like to know if after your fruit has finished drying can they be vacuum sealed for longer storage?
Yes, you can vacuum seal your dehydrated fruits. The only trouble is that if the fruits are hard or have any sharp edges after drying they can puncture the vacuum seal bag. Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber work better, as does sealing them in a mason jar with either a vacuum sealer and jar sealer attachment or an oxygen absorber.
Oxygen Absorbers are great idea, but how does one get them? I looked online and my search didn’t provide me with much luck. It seems you either have to want to order in massive quantities and that won’t work for me. LOL
Teresa, you can get them on Amazon. Looks like the smallest package is 10 oxygen absorbers. You can seal the oxygen absorbers you’re not using in a small mylar bag or a vacuum sealer bag and they’ll stay good until you’re ready to use them.
Beth Werner says
I have been dehydrating bananas for years…primarily because everywhere that sells them are full of sugar, preservatives, oil, etc… I wanted healthy and unprocessed – two words we try to live by as much as possible. I have never used fresh fruit or treated my bananas in any way. They have never gotten really brown, as long as I get them onto the dehydrator right away. It takes me only about 24-36 hours to dry 5 trays. They are sometimes a little bit chewy, but most times get fairly crisp. And I live in upstate New York where it can be fairly humid. I air-tight them in zip-lock freezer bags and they last for months (although they rarely stay around that long – LOL). I’d think if you have problems the oxygen absorbers would work, however make sure they are made for food! Otherwise, who knows… Great post!
I seen banana slicers at Dollar Tree the other day.
I stock up on “banana bread” bananas when they are marked down. The best are those bananas that are marked down because they got chilled somewhere in transit and are black and the outside and perfect on the inside. I do not have electricity and dry mine on racks over the wood cookstove. I dry a box at a time and put them on the trays as close as I can. They do not stick together. They do tend to stick to the drying racks. I usually spray my screen with a thin film of olive oil/lecithin spray so that they come off easier. I don’t usually use any thing to preserve color… they get slightly brown but we don’t mind.
Will L says
I was just thinking why not combine the sick and the slice idea?
Take your egg slicer and run the whole banana through it lengthwise so you have long flat chips? Then you have the best of both worlds, and they should dehydrate in a normal amount of time!
Thanks Will, that is brilliant! Might have to try it!