When you are craving those sweet, chewy snacks, it always feels good to munch on something healthy, or something you made yourself. Well, now you can enjoy healthy, homemade banana chips!
Crispy banana chips are actually quite easy to make if you have the right tools, like the best dehydrator for fruit and a great dehydrated banana chip recipe. Don't worry, you are on the right path.
How You Can Use Dehydrated Banana Chips
You can use dehydrated bananas for a lot of things besides a healthy, standalone snack. Use dehydrated bananas to decorate cakes, cupcakes or on top of freshly baked banana bread, or add to salads or trail mix! Dried bananas are versatile, delicious and are so healthy.
To dehydrate bananas, you will have to choose the perfect banana ripeness, slice it 1/4" thick and dehydrate for about 8 hours. See below for the details on how to dehydrate your bananas perfectly for banana chips.
How To Dehydrate A Banana | Best Banana Chips
Let's make banana chips!
There are some tricks for getting dehydrated banana's perfect, and these include:
- choosing the right bananas in terms of ripeness
- cutting the bananas at the perfect thickness for dehydrating
- how long they will dehydrate for (there is a balance between chewy and crisp)
- how they are stored will also determine how well they will be over time
To get the absolute best banana chips, you are going to want to have a great dehydrator. When it comes to bananas, you are going to want to have an even distribution of warm, continuous air flowing so you get the best texture and consistency.
Let's talk dehydrators.
Here's How Dehydrators Work
A dehydrator is a must-have food preservation tool for the kitchen. A dehydrator is versatile and makes the most delicious snacks, garnishes, treats and dehydrated fruit leather.
With a dehydrator, you can make:
- dried strawberries
- dried mushrooms
- dried flowers
- and so much more
A dehydrator works by completely drying food out so there is no moisture content left and, therefore, no bacteria can form to break the food down. Dehydrated food is delicious and is versatile in terms of how you can eat and use it.
When the dehydrator is on, the low temperature heating element warms the food slowly with the help of the fan, and this causes the water content in the food to evaporate over a number of hours.
Because bacteria needs water to develop and grow, removing the water content from food preserves it as bacteria is unable to develop, multiple or thrive.
What To Look For In A Dehydrator
When looking for a good dehydrator to make crunchy banana chips or any dehydrated fruit or dried snack with, it is best to purchase one where the fan and heating element are located at the back of the unit.
- When the fan and heating element are located at the back, it flows more evenly over your racks of dehydrating food.
- When the fan and heating element are at the bottom of your dehydrator, you will have to rotate the racks around as the ones closest to the fan and heat source will dry the food out more than the flood further away from it, leaving you with possible uneven dehydration levels.
The Best Dehydrator For Fruit
The best dehydrator for fruit, and one of the most popular choice, is the Excalibur dehydrator. What is great about this dehydrator, is that it comes in the following different tray sizes:
- 4 dehydrating trays
- 5 dehydrating trays
- 9 dehydrating trays
- 10 dehydrating trays
We have some other top choices for the best dehydrators for fruit, and some we would recommend skipping. Read all about them in our article, The Best Dehydrators For Fruit.
How To Choose The Perfect Banana To Dehydrate
To dehydrate banana chips perfectly, you are going to want to find bananas that are no longer green, and ones that are not spotting yet. To make perfect banana chips, you need to find that optimal banana ripeness.
If you choose to slice a banana for dehydrating that is slightly green, it will be less flavorful and will have a firmer texture; not crunchy in texture, but you will be able to tell that the banana was not yet ready.
If you choose to slice a banana for dehydrating that is starting to turn brown or if you simply choose overripe bananas, it will have a ton of flavor but will be much harder to peel from your dehydrator.
It will also be quite brown and much chewier than your perfectly ripe, fresh bananas.
Steps For Dehydrating Bananas
- Choose your banana and how many you are going to dehydrate
- Peel the bananas, take off any extra strings the fruit naturally has
- Cut your banana slices uniformly at 1/4" thick (keep your banana slices consistent to get an even dry)
- Place your banana slices on your dehydrator, set it to 135 F and start checking them for preferred consistency after 6 hours
- It will take 6 - 10 hours for your crunchy banana chips to finish
Tips For How Thick To Cut Banana Slices
When you have your bananas ready to dry, peel them and take off any of those long strings that might still be on the sides of your peeled banana.
Next you are going to want to slice the bananas about 1/4" thick. Try to slice them uniformly so you don't have one side deeper than the other side of a banana round. Uniform thickness means uniform dryness.
If you want longer slices, you can always get a bit fancy and slice the bananas at 1/4" thickness but at a slight angle. This will make oval slices instead of round, sliced banana discs.
Tips For How Long To Dehydrate Bananas
In your dehydrator, you will place your sliced bananas on a single layer and if you can control the temperature of your dehydrator, put it to 135 degrees F, or you can put it on the low temperature setting for about 8 hours.
Because every dehydrator is different, you may want to start trying your dehydrated banana chips after about 6 hours to get them exactly how you want them in terms of texture. They should be chewy, but not wet at all. Keep trying them every few hours until you are happy with the results!
How To Store Dehydrated Banana Chips
Dehydrated banana chips can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for at least two weeks.
If you have access to a vacuum food sealer, they can last up to a year, also at room temperature as long as they stay sealed closed where no air can get in.
Long Term Food Storage With A Vacuum Sealer
If you are wanting to store your banana chips, your other dried food or even your fresh food for longer periods of time, it is absolutely worth getting a countertop vacuum sealer.
From sauces to coffee, to fruit, vegetables, berries and meat, a vacuum sealer will allow your food to stay fresh for much, much longer.
For example: Fruit may stay fresh for 2 - 6 days in the fridge, but if it were vacuum sealed in the fridge it would stay fresh for weeks. If if it were dehydrated and then vacuum sealed, you would have that dried fruit for years.
The Best Vacuum Sealer
America's Test Kitchen did several tests on many different makes and models of vacuum sealers and they had a clear winner, and that was the Nesco Deluxe Vacuum Sealer.
This vacuum sealer is easy to use, performs beautifully, has an automatic mode, a manual mode, a pulse feature and a gentle feature for delicate foods such as strawberries. It has a nice handle and it only weighs about 6 pounds.
We especially love this one because of the price tag. Long considered a favorite among professionals, the Nesco Deluxe Vacuum Sealer is a top choice for performance and price.
Summary For Banana Chips:
- Banana chips are actually quite easy to make if you have the right tools and recipe
- If you choose to dry a banana that is not ripe or is slightly green, it will be less flavorful and will have a firmer texture
- If you choose to dry a banana that is starting to turn brown, it will have a ton of flavor but will be much harder to peel from your dehydrator
- Choose a banana that is perfectly ripe and yellow; no green tinge or brown spots on it, to get the flavor and texture just right for banana chips
- Slice banana rounds 1/4" thick
- Set your dehydrator to either low or 135 F
- Dry bananas out for 6 - 10 hours and check them as they dry
Banana chips are fantastic as a healthy, sweet snack and are great to bring our hiking, to work, or for your kids to bring to school.
Here are some other questions people are asking about dehydrating bananas:
How long do bananas take to dehydrate?
Depending on your dehydrator, bananas can take anywhere from 6-9 hours to dehydrate. The trick for getting the perfect texture and chewiness for your own personal taste preference is to taste the bananas after 6 hours and try one every hour after that. Simply turn off your dehydrator when you have reached that perfect doneness.
How do you tell when bananas are done dehydrating?
Bananas are finished dehydrating once the water has evaporated fully from the fruit. This can take anywhere from 6-9 hours depending on the dehydrator you are using. Once they are dried, it becomes a matter of preference for how dry or chewy you like them.
How do you keep bananas from browning when dehydrating?
Bananas naturally brown when oxygen is introduced to the flesh of fruit. Most fruit browns when exposed to oxygen in such a way and it is a natural process. However, there is a method to keep your fruit from browning and that is to add some citric acid in the form of lemon juice
Adding a bit of lemon juice to your sliced bananas may help the fruit from turning brown, but keep in mind it may also change the flavor slightly as well. I suggest trying a tray with plain banana chips and a tray with lemon-juice brushed banana chips to see which you prefer in terms of color and taste. And let us know your results in the comments! We'd love to hear back.
How do you cut bananas for dehydrating?
To cut bananas for dehydrating, first, peel your bananas and take off any banana strings. The, laying your bananas on a flat surface, cut about 1/4" thickness uniformly down the banana.
How long will dehydrated bananas last?
Dehydrated bananas can last about 2 weeks in an airtight container, or up to a year if you use a vacuum food sealer.
Can you dehydrate bananas in the oven?
You can absolutely dehydrate bananas in the oven, however, it is the preferred consensus that banana's dehydrate best in a dehydrator. In an oven, you will need to brush the banana slices with a bit of oil (olive or coconut is great for this) so they do not stick to the baking sheet.
Here is how to dehydrate bananas in the oven:
Preheat your oven to 175 degrees F, oil your bananas and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Then, bake for about 3 hours and once they are done, carefully take the off with a flat spatula.
Can you over-dehydrate?
Technically, no, you can't over dehydrate. However, the drier your fruit is, the longer it will store. Again, dehydration is a matter of preference after it has dehydrated so tasting along the way will help determine when to take your fruit off.
What is the best fruit to dehydrate?
There are so many different fruits you can dehydrate, and these include:
- and more
What is the best dehydrator for fruit?
If you are looking specifically for a dehydrator for fruit, you are going to need a dehydrator that has an even distribution of temperature throughout the layers so that the fruit dries evenly.
There are typically two dehydrator designs: the stand up design and the cylindrical design.
- With stand up dehydrator designs, the fan tends to be read mounted allowing the air to move evenly through your drying racks
- With cylindrical designs, the fan is mounted on the base
- When the fan is mounted on the base, the air has to pass through layers to get tp the next level up all the way tot the top, so you often have to rotate your trays to get an even dry.
This is an excerpt from our article "The Best Dehydrators For Fruit". To continue reading it, check it out right here:
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