Friday, May 3, 2013

Frugal Friday: Kitchen Tip/Tutorial: How to Dehydrate Bananas

If you've ever tried making banana chips at home in your dehydrator, you know that it's not as easy as it sounds. Did you know that most banana chips you buy from the store are actually fried in oil? They contain lots of saturated fat and sugar and really aren't all that healthy for you. When you try to make them at home, they turn out like shriveled up little ugly brown things and while they taste okay, they are an absolute pain to make. Cutting all of those little slices and arranging them on the dehydrator trays. They are sticky so they stick to the sheets and wow, what a pain. And they don't even come out crunchy. Just kind of leathery, not matter how long you dehydrate them. I decided after making them the first time that they were not worth it. And after that experience I kind of gave up on dehydrating bananas until...

One day I was visiting my aunt and she had just found a really good deal on bananas and had bought a whole bunch. She taught me this method for drying them and I love it. It works and it's fast and easy and you can dehydrate a whole bunch of bananas at time. They don't come out crunchy like banana chips, but I actually like them better. They are chewy and delicious. They are much healthier because they are just bananas and aren't fried in fat. And you can easily re-hydrate them to use in a lot of yummy recipes. 

Since this is Frugal Friday I'm going to take a slight detour and tell you a story about buying bananas. We have a grocery store about 2 minutes away from our house and I love it. One thing that I love about it is their produce because they often have good sales. I went there not too long ago and found that bananas were on sale for 26 cents a pound. Anyone who buys produce must know that that's a really great price for bananas. These weren't the mushy overripe ones either. These were the good bananas. So I decided that I would buy some to dehydrate. Well I had three bunches in my cart and then I saw that they had 40 lb. boxes of bananas for sale as well. And I thought, Oh cool, maybe I could get a case for even cheaper. The price on the case said $19.99. Doing the math surprised me because the cases of bananas were about 50 cent a pound instead of the 26 cents a pound that they were charging for the other bananas. Almost twice as much! Needless to say I didn't buy the case and stuck with the 3 bunches that I had in my cart. Lesson learned: always do the math!

How to Dehydrate Bananas
Printable Tutorial

Now back to the tutorial. For best results start with bananas that are ripe, but not too ripe. I don't think a few spots will hurt, but if they've gone mushy, better use them for a smoothie or something.

The first step in dehydrating bananas is pretty obvious: peel them.

I love this next step because it is just so awesome. Did you know that a banana is naturally segmented just like an orange or lemon or those other kinds of segmented fruits? It's naturally segmented into three equal parts. Isn't that cool? To segment the banana, gently slide your thumb into the end of the peeled banana that has a slight opening (the non-stem side).

Continue sliding down your fingers through and you will be left with three equal banana segments. If it breaks part way down, don't worry. You can still use it. Just put your thumb where you left off and keep sliding.

Lay your banana segments on the food dehydrator sticky side up. That's right! No stickiness to worry about with this method. Yay!

Repeat these steps until the dehydrator is full. I fit about 3 bunches full of bananas on my 5 trays. That's another thing I love about this method, you can fit a lot of bananas at a time. Then dehydrate for about 12-24 hours depending on your dehydrator and how thick your bananas are. Mine took about 15 hours or so. Bananas are done when they are still bendable, but not sticky. Store in an airtight container (out of direct sunlight) until ready to use.

Source:, idea shared by my Aunt Sharilyn

Dehydrating your own bananas can be a great way to save money. You can buy bananas when you find them on sale and dehydrate them as a yummy snack or for use in many recipes. 

And now I'd love to hear from you. What did you do to save money this week? Happy Frugal Friday and have a great weekend.

This week I'll be linking to some of these link parties.


Barb @ A Life in Balance said...

I tried drying bananas a few years ago and they came out pretty tough. Maybe I dried them too long?

Oh, and how cool that you split the bananas! I've never seen that before.

Thanks for sharing your tip at Fabulously Frugal Thursday.

Heather {Healthy Family Cookin} said...


I've dried them too long and had them come out tough as well. It takes a little bit of practice getting them just right.

Kathy A Delightsome Life said...

Well, that's a fascinating way to do this - I didn't know they were fried from the store! ! I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

Anonymous said...

Have you tried freezing them first, then dehydrating?
Freezing naturally removes some of the moisture and cuts down on browning...I may try a sample test of both methods...

Heather {Healthy Family Cookin} said...

Freezing, that's interesting. Nope haven't tried it. Let me know what you think.

Heather {Healthy Family Cookin} said...

Oh and I wonder if spraying them with lemon juice first would help with the browning. I don't know...may be worth a try!

Anonymous said...

Freezing first worked faster...I actually overdried them so they got crunchy. They seem still a little mushy when I took them out, so I kept putting them back in for longer...finally just took them out and once they cooled to room temp they were crispy!

Heather {Healthy Family Cookin} said...

good to know! Thanks for sharing.

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