How we keep extra bananas in our pantry
I dehydrate them
I have purchased the proper tools to dehydrate food. I have read my handbooks that came with my dehydrator. I have read other books so I can be more knowledgeable about food safety. I would advise anyone preserving food to do the same. I have food dehydrator books as well as Ball canning books. This is where you first start when preserving food.
People have their own reasons for storing food. My goal is to have enough for my family to get us through tough times, food shortages due to drought or weather disasters. We recently went through a pumpkin shortage a few years ago and there was no canned pumpkin to be found during Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had canned pumpkin in our pantry during that shortage because pumpkin is part of my food storage.
We try to keep a 4-6 month supply of food in our pantry and to keep that food rotated and fresh. A year supply of food would be great but that is really difficult with the price of food. I also keep seed stored so I can plant a garden from one season to the next and I think that is possibly more important than my pantry. No matter how much food you store, you MUST rotate your food and you need to eat your food that you store so you can rotate it. If you keep a pantry you don't have to run out to get groceries all the time and you can wait and buy things on sale.
I talked to my elders a lot before they passed and my Grandparents generation had it all together and knew how to can food and preserve food. My Mothers generation started taking short cuts and that was not the thing to do. Preserving food can be intimidating but if you study and learn all you can and then do it you will get more comfortable. The main thing is do not take shortcuts. Take the time and do it right.
So let me get back to how I dehydrated my bananas.
We Purchased bananas that were not too ripe and not too green.
These are organic lemons that I washed and dried. They will be used to preserve the bananas and I don't know what they came in contact with on their way to the store or in the store so I always wash my food even if it has a peel.
I have a large bowl for the banana peelings to go out in the compost bin
A pie plate to put the sliced bananas in so I can spray lemon juice over the banana slices
A slicer or a knife and a spray bottle. You can dip the banana slices in lemon juice if you want but I like to spray them.
Something to use to make lemon juice. Some people just buy lemon juice but I like to make my own because then I know what is in the juice and that is just lemon.
And a food dehydrator. Turn it on and let it start warming up. Your dehydrators come with books to let you know the correct temperature.
So lets get started. Slice up a few lemons (in half).
Squeeze out the juice
Strain the juice
Pour into a spray bottle or into a shallow dish
Slice the bananas
Spray or dip them, flip them over to get both sides
Place on the dehydrator tray
Do this over and over until you have filled all of your trays. These dehydrators hold a lot of banana slices. About 35 to 40 bananas for my dehydrator. I don't always do this many bananas and this time I only did 14 Bananas.
Now time is what it takes. I always go over the time listed in my books because it just takes longer where I live. It is better to go over than under. Don't stop at the leathery stage. Stop when it is snappy.
I tested the bananas during the drying time. I removed these after 17 hours. They were getting close when I went to bed but I left them in drying overnight because I wanted them very dry.
To test, take a few out, let them cool first then drop them on the counter and listen for that light crisp sound. Then snap one in half. If it does not snap it is not done. You must have them to 95% dry for proper storage.
A home dehydrated banana will turn dark in the center due to the patten in the center of a banana. I don't know what they put in store bought dehydrated bananas to keep them a light color but whatever it is I don't want in my body. This banana is just perfect and very tasty. I know what is in my banana, banana and lemon juice.
Lets go back and look at the centers of the just cut bananas, that pattern in the center turns dark as the water is being removed from the banana.
I always air seal my dehydrated food in jars with a attachment to remove the air. Also adding a oxygen absorber helps lenghten the shelf life. People have been dehydrating food since ancient times. You can use these dehydrated bananas for Snacks, baby food, granola, cookies, and banana bread and dehydrated food is great for camping trips.
These bananas won't be around very long because they make a great snack. Remember to not over eat dehydrated food. 18 of these banana chips are a whole banana. There are three bananas in the jar in the center of this picture. This is a half pint jar.
I order a lot of my tools and supplies from Pleasant Hill Grain and I have always been pleased with their company. I am not associated with them in any way but I am just passing on what I know. They are online and you can go to their website.