Drying food: Banana “jerky”

Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like raw bananas. Put them in bread and you’re on. I also don’t like the fried-then-dried ones from the store. Then I found the dried mini bananas at Trader Joe’s. The only problem is the price.

So I figured out my own version of the little sweet dried bananas. To save time and dryer space I don’t slice my bananas, but split them down the middle (easily done by running your finger down the seam to split each banana into three pieces). Some bananas broke up because they were borderline liquified. The super soft bits I saved in a container in the freezer for banana bread.

I hit a sale on ‘naners at Aldi and waited for them to get some brown spots (overripe because they’re sweeter).

To keep them from browning I dipped each piece in a 1:1 combination of bottled lemon juice and honey. Remember, if you’re going to feed these to babies under 1 year old you should omit the honey due to the risk of infantile botulism.

I popped them on my dehydrator trays, set the thermostat at 135° F (57° C) and walked away for about a day until they were dry and leathery (I worked a 12 hour shift and slept, so even though the house smelled like bananas, it worked well). I only put in half the dryer trays, skipping every other slot, to allow plenty of room for airflow. After I let them cool I stored them in wide mouth canning jars. If I thought they’d last more than a week I’d vacuum seal them inside the jar. As it is they’ll get eaten within a few days.

Protip: Put a cookie sheet, sheet of freezer paper, or something under your trays as you load them. The honey/lemon juice will drip and it is sticky. Wash down your cupboards when you’re done because they’ll be sticky. Somehow the floor was sticky and I was certain I didn’t drip.

This time I used my Excalibur 3900T dehydrator.

Bananas before drying


And the bananas after drying. You can really see where I the honey/juice dripped once it’s been dried.