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Thursday, 02 February 2012

This article was updated on 01 Mar 2014. I thought I'd knock-up this quick guide to making banana chips, whilst I think of it before I end up archiving my images and forgetting about them – as I can do.

Banana chips don't need any big introduction and they are so simple to make that I hesitated to write the article at all because I wasn't sure if anyone would get any value from it. Plus, there are other articles on the net about how it's done. However, I figured it wasn't too long ago when I used to buy this simple snack from the supermarket myself and wondered how it was made. Therefore, I guess if one person drops in on this article and gets something out of it that'll be good enough for me.

Banana Hand

A few years back, I knew banana chips were dried somehow but I wasn't sure if the process was easy enough to do at home. Of course, I found out making banana chips is very easy after I got my Excalibur food dehydrator and started experimenting. Nevertheless, there still are some little hints, tricks, and advice worth sharing to make the task easier for the first time.

Actually, I was pretty much forced into making banana chips after I produced my first bunch of home-grown bananas and then subsequently realised how fast a big bunch of bananas ripen. And, when you have a big bunch of these yellow fruits sitting in the living room getting softer there's only so many smoothies a person can drink before one feels like a big fat banana themselves.

Yes, I do know there are many ways to use a glut of bananas besides smoothies but I love quick and easy solutions to oversupplies of fruit and veg and that's how dehydration comes in.

How to make banana chips?

Firstly, I don't think a step-by-step guide with images at each point is really necessary to demonstrate how to make banana chips so here's a dot point:

  • Oversupplies of bananas – Eating a banana fresh is the best way to eat a banana. However, if you grow your own bananas or come across a cheap fire-sale of bananas at the farmers market or grocer then take full advantage and buy a ton'ov'em.

  • Dehydrator - You'll need a dehydrator and I use an Excalibur food dehydrator becauseDried Banana Excalibur Dehydrator Trays that's what my research on dehydrators led me to buy several years ago and mine hasn't missed a beat since. However, any dehydrator will do fine and these days the "no-name" Chinese dehydrators similar to mine are very good and much cheaper than what I paid (there's a review on a no-name dehydrator by one of our forum members on our forum) he purchased his dehydrator on eBay here. If you have purchased one of those other brands and are happy with its performance let me know about it on our forum www.selfsufficientculture.com and I'd really appreciate it. There are more links to where you can buy a dehydrator from at the end of this post. 

  • Slicing - Cut the bananas into thin round pieces and take heed of the following:

    • Use a sharp stainless steel knife (no cheap steel – makes the banana go dark brown), or, you can get banana slicers;

    • Try and keep the slice width as regular as possible; and

    • Do not slice too thick 3-4 mil max (less than ½ cm or about 1/8th inch);

  • Trays - Place the sliced banana on the dehydrator trays in one single layer. As a tray becomes full transfer it to the running dehydrator immediately because as we all know bananas have a tendency to go brown and get soft if left out too long. And, soft brown bananas will just get sticky and make it harder to remove from the dehydrators tray mesh sheeting when done.

  • Settings – Place the temperature setting on fruits or “live foods” according to your dehydrators instructions and set the timer for about 24 hours. You can check it sooner but bananas usually take a long time to dehydrate.

  • Ready? - The slices of banana are ready when they snap easily and don't just bend in the fingers. Leave a few pieces cool first before trying the snap test as it gives a better indication to whether they are ready or not.

  • Storage – Airtight containers or bags in the pantry. They'll last for ages.

Other Considerations

Dried Banana Chips PackagedLonger storage

For longer storage or places with high humidity, little oxygen remover bags are a handy addition placed in the container or packet – you know, the little plastic pads you sometimes find in packaged foods? You can buy them in bulk and use them at home too for home-made dry food storage and they work by consuming the oxygen within the package inhibiting the growth of any nasties.

Having said that, I find if the chips are being eaten and the container opened regularly the chips will eventually lose the “snap,” however, no one seems to mind a chewy banana chip in my home as the taste is still good and the chewiness turns them into banana lollies instead. Also, there's no harm in giving them another whirl in the dehydrator to firm them up again if you really must have them crunchy.

Citric acid

I don't use citric acid to prevent the banana chips from going brown as light brown banana chips look natural enough to me and my family. However, if you wanted them to look “whiter” I've read spraying or dipping the slices in citric acid (or lemon juice) will help.

Add extra sugar?

Some like to dust with icing sugar before (or after) dehydrating – it isn't necessary, dried bananas are as sweet as fresh ones and sometimes sweeter. Although, a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled over before serving at a party might be nice – haven't tried it myself.

What's in commercial banana chips?

If you read the label on a packet of commercial banana chips you might need to have your smart phone handy to decipher the chemical coding of some ingredients... I guess commercially manufactured banana chips need to look good on the shelf and store for extra long periods, whereas, we don't have that pressure at home.

Dried Banana Chips on Excalibur Tray

Conclusion

We all know fruit is good for us and bananas are an exceptionally nutritious fruit for us and our children to eat. Dried banana is just as good for us and makes for an easy no mess snack for any person especially good for popping into kids lunch boxes.

Making dried banana chips is an easy process and it's also less expensive than buying the commercial type, which often contain additives written on the packet that many of us find unfamiliar.

Go on – make some dried banana, so this article wasn't written in vain... :)

You might also like reading Dehydrating Cherry Tomatoes.

Feel free to use the comment section below and have your say (no email is required). Or, visit our preserving section on our forum and join up (for free) and chat with us!

Handy Links

If you're looking to buy a food dehydrator I recommend the rectangle or square units (whatever brand you decide on) because these units blow air more evenly over the trays, than say, the round units. Here are some places to check out dehydrators online:

Thanks for reading and thanks for your support,

Look, and see the Earth through her eyes

Mark Valencia – Editor SSM

 

Posted by: Mark Valencia AT 11:06 am   |  Permalink   |  36 Comments  |  Email
Comments:
Thank you Mark for the detailed instructions. In about a year I hope to be making my own Banana chips from my dwarf Ducasse. I've dried Ladyfingers using a solar drier and recently an el-cheepo Excalibur-type electric drier. Except for home-made pickled Olives, nothing else beats the flavour of organically-grown home-dried Bananas!
Posted by Elaine de Saxe on 02/02/2012 - 05:05 AM
Your very welcome Elaine! I've never used a solar drier but I was reading about them a few nights ago (for the first time) how coincidental you should mention it. I find anything solar interesting. Home made pickled olives - that's something else I'm itching to try and do. Got my first small crop of olives this year (probably a jar only) better than nothing from a subtropical garden I suppose. Growing olives in this climate is just another experiment in my garden - it might be madness but I'm trying anyway :) Cheers, Mark
Posted by Mark on 02/02/2012 - 05:41 AM
When the answer to this question: "what have you got to lose?" is something like "the cost of a phone call; some time; a bit of garden space ..." then go for it! The Olives I used came from a fruit shop probably not organic but they were sensational. The proprietor gave me his mother's recipe - the only authentic one, of course - from a Greek island. After the pickling, adding Garlic, sliced Lemon and Oregano to the olive oil and fresh brine lifted these Olives above the rest. They didn't last long, too scrumptious!
Posted by Elaine de Saxe on 02/03/2012 - 01:54 AM
Awesome. Makes the olives I got from the Coles deli today seem a tad bland now...:)
Posted by Mark on 02/03/2012 - 02:30 AM
I am so glad I found this! Just started dehydrating my own foods, and my son requested bananas.
Posted by Bonnie on 05/23/2012 - 08:33 AM
That's great Bonnie! I'm glad this post was helpful. Thanks for your comment :)
Posted by Mark on 05/23/2012 - 08:52 AM
Thank you for the article! Just bought myself a dehydrator and some bananas. I knew the basics, but theres some helpful little tips in this that will definitely come in handy!
Posted by Keira on 07/19/2012 - 10:23 PM
Thanks Keira! How exciting that you have bought a dehydrator. If you're like me you'll get hooked fast and never stop using it :) Have fun...
Posted by Mark on 07/19/2012 - 10:42 PM
thank you for the time & effort writing this. i am receiving my dehydrator VERY SOON and am very excited! i always wondered if i could make those banana chips. awesome!
Posted by monique on 08/23/2012 - 04:26 PM
Thanks Monique for commenting! Have fun with your new dehydrator - I'm excited for you :) Yeah, banana chips would have to be the best way to prolong an oversuppy of bananas... I think so anyway. Cheers.
Posted by Mark on 08/23/2012 - 06:53 PM
Thank you so much for this article. it was a good read and i hope to be doing this commercially one day. some very helpful tips and great ideas!
Posted by Melissa on 01/11/2013 - 03:56 AM
Thanks Melissa your welcome! Good luck with your venture I hope it works out well. Cheers :)
Posted by Mark on 01/11/2013 - 07:45 AM
Your article was definitely not written in vain :) I have my brand new Dehydrator, still wrapped in plastic, and five bananas waiting to be chopped up. Dried bananas will be the very first recipie that I try in the Dehydrator (and I agree with you about the choice, I also did some research and found that Excalibur had to be the choice to make.
Posted by Linda on 01/15/2013 - 09:16 AM
Thanks Linda for you kind support - I'm sure you'll have great fun with your new dehydrator and dried bananas are perfect for a first go. I am really happy with how many people have enjoyed this article perhaps I need to get cracking and write a few more dehydrator posts! Cheers, Mark
Posted by Mark on 01/15/2013 - 08:59 PM
I also enjoyed this article. I just recieved a dehydrator for christmas and first made some beef jerky that came out fablous and now i'm going to use it for banana's, so thank you very much for the article, i realize now my banana's may not look like the stores but thats ok they will be much healthier. so yes your article helped a great deal as i had no idea it could take up to 24 hours to have them dried! So it's something i need to start early in the day. Thank you
Posted by Genaine on 01/19/2013 - 06:03 AM
Hi Genaine, thanks for commenting! Yes, bananas can take a little longer to dehydrate for chips to get them crunchy - it's well worth the wait and effort though :) Cheers, Mark
Posted by Mark on 01/19/2013 - 09:59 PM
Mark, Thanks for the article. I do have one question. I've tried a couple of different batches of bananas, and I can't seem to get what I want. The first batch was very thin and stuck to the trays (Excalibur at about 135 degrees). The second batch, I cut a little thicker, and they are still very leathery. Both batches got really brown. Any suggestions on how to get real banana chips that still look like bananas? Thanks!
Posted by Joyce on 03/23/2013 - 06:25 PM
Hi Joyce, that's a shame your banana chips aren't working out as they should. To prevent them from sticking try and ensure the bananas are just ripe but still quite firm and still keep slices thin transferring to the trays and into the dehydrator as fast as possible. The drying process will take a long time (perhaps over 24 hours) for the banana chips to dry properly. If you are still having trouble with the banana slices sticking to the trays, then try using paraflexx sheets or even some wax paper down first. Thanks for connecting!
Posted by Mark on 03/23/2013 - 11:53 PM
I have followed instructions on making banana chips in a dehydrator and still are having a problem with them turning into "chips". What am I doing wrong?
Posted by Zack on 04/28/2013 - 07:58 PM
Hi Zack, how exactly are your chips turning out? Are they not crisp? If that's the problem, and I'm guessing, then perhaps you need to slice them thinner or dehydrate them longer. It's hard to tell what's happening with your banana chips without some more info. If you joined our forum at SelfSufficientCulture.com then you could post more info and perhaps a pic or video and we could discuss it more then we can here (only 750 characters allowed). Cheers, Mark
Posted by Mark on 04/28/2013 - 08:26 PM
Mark, I tried to slice them all 1/8 inch thick, dipped them in lemon juice. I dried them for 12 hours, turning them at the 8 hour mark. They were still chewy after 12 hours so I dried them another 12 hours. After 24 hours of being dried they were starting to become a little more crispier, but they weren't chips yet. Maybe I need to dry them longer? I hope this information helped. And again thanks for your help.
Posted by Zack on 05/07/2013 - 08:02 PM
Yes Zack, you're absolutely right - drying time for banana chips can take 24-48 hours to do and it's probably the hardest fruit to dry right. The other thing you can try is setting the drying temp up slightly higher (above standard fruit setting) and see if that dries them faster and better. You will also find, the home made banana chips will lose crunch over time during storage. Moisture bags do help and a good sealed container. You can redry to bring the crisp back but we just eat them chewy - in the end, this is the way natural (healthy) banana chips without preservatives tend to go. Good luck and please come back and tell me how you went :) Cheers, Mark
Posted by Mark on 05/07/2013 - 11:13 PM
Thanks so much Mark for all the info. I love banana chips, but find they are too fattening and have too many extras in them when bought from the store. I will definitely let you know how the next batch goes. Thanks again!
Posted by Zack on 05/08/2013 - 03:31 PM
No worries Zack, I hope the banana chips work out for you because they are healthier than the retail oil coated ones, I totally agree. Appreciate you sharing these points with us. Cheers, Mark
Posted by Mark on 05/08/2013 - 06:19 PM
thanks for the help, ive just got my first dehydrator and im rather excited! but mine has no settings, just a time and temp gauge. can you suggest a temperature for fruits such as banana, kiwi and apple? and if you have any idea how to dry apricots I would be in your debt!! cant wait to get started!!
Posted by Tim on 06/18/2013 - 03:31 PM
Hi Tim, temp settings are 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius for fruits and fruit rolls. Drying fruits at this temp retains much of the nutritional qualities. If you would like to discuss it more just jump on our forum and start a thread in the preserving section. Cheers, Mark
Posted by Mark on 06/18/2013 - 05:44 PM
Mark can you email me about my dehydrator, I have many questions. thanks jeanne
Posted by Jeanne Gowland on 07/07/2013 - 07:39 AM
Jeanne, the easiest way to ask questions is via our forum www.selfsufficientculture.com or use the links or menu tabs (top of page) to get to the forum. That's much better than fwd backward by email. Hope to see you there :) Cheers, Mark
Posted by Mark on 07/07/2013 - 09:20 AM
Thank you for posting detailed instructions for banana chips. I just purchased a new dehydrator which is in the process of being shipped - it should arrived today. I got the Nesco dehydrator, but I did see the Excalibur, but ended up with the Nesco. Anyway, your instructions for drying bananas is well written and thanks for sharing your post. After reading your post, I am ready to giving banana chips a try. I also like your support with each comment posted which shows dedication. Thanks again and I will let you know my outcome.
Posted by :D on 09/18/2013 - 11:31 AM
Thanks D, and I hope you love your new dehydrator! Nesco, Excalibur, or no name, it doesn't matter as long as the dehydrator does the job intended. Good luck with your banana chips and I would be interested to hear about your outcome - even consider joining our forum www.selfsufficientculture.com and chat with me there also. Cheers, Mark
Posted by Mark Valencia on 09/18/2013 - 06:54 PM
Mark, I'm excited to tell you that my banana chips turned out well on the Nesco dehyrator. I followed your detailed instructions and I just packaged my banana chips in a ziploc bag for my son. I don't know if there will be any remaining for my son to give him tis weekend. The Nesco only fits enough slices from 7 large bananas. I only have 3/4 of a quart-size zip loc bag. I used bananas that were slightly green on the ends from a suggestion from another site. I left them in the dehydrator for exactly 24 hours and they got even crispier as they were cooling after transferring the chips to a tray. Thanks for your post and I would not have made these if it wasn't for your detailed instructions.
Posted by :D on 09/24/2013 - 02:31 PM
That's great to hear D! Thanks for sharing your feedback and also those tips about using slightly greener bananas (I will give that a go also). Cheers :)
Posted by Mark Valencia on 09/24/2013 - 05:44 PM
so glad i found all these comments,Mark,i usually make the best beef jerky around but wanted to try bananas because i love the chips and i'm on a mission to get them right and they will take the place of me putting a cigarette in my mouth and lighting up! I too us the nesco,its great,tried my first batch last nite,they came out chewy,i cooked them for 13 hrs but as i read ur comments it seems like they need to cook longer so i'll try it again!My next one is apples so any advice on those i would love to know.Thank you for all ur help.
Posted by Terry on 10/01/2013 - 04:25 PM
G'day Terry, yeah making banana chips can be a little finicky but it sure beats buying those oily yucky things from the supermarket. Tip - if your banana chips go a little soft over time blitz them again in your dehydrator and they'll crisp back up. In regards to apples, one word - lemon juice - (OK, that's two words) but dip your apple in the juice before drying and this will help them to look less brown when done. Cheers, Mark :)
Posted by Mark Valencia on 10/01/2013 - 06:53 PM
Hey Mark, Thanks for the instructions on making banana chips. I tried making banana leathers, but they turned out so hard they are dangerous for teeth. Chips might be better. And by the way, if you don't want too many bananas at once, I find that when mine are plumped out on the tree (yes I know its not really a tree) but still green, I just cut a hand or two off the bunch a week, and ripen them inside in a freezer bag with an apple in it for the ethylene gas. That way they aren't all ripe at once, I've had one or two bananas to eat a day for the last couple months doing this, and the rest of the bunch still haven't gone yellow on the plant :)
Posted by Narnie goodness on 05/26/2014 - 05:15 AM
Hi Narnie Goodness (not your real name I'm sure LOL) thanks for your comment and tips on banana harvesting! Cheers :)
Posted by Mark on 05/26/2014 - 06:37 PM

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