Freeze Drying Bananas

 

Consider Freeze Drying Bananas – And, Then Buy Them In Bulk

Bananas are fairly inexpensive to purchase when they are “in season.”  But, otherwise, the price can climb rather high.  And, if you don’t eat them quickly, they’ll start to get bruised and mushy in less than a week!

Over ripened bananas

You could dehydrate them – making banana chips.  However, they can get pretty chewy and tough – and, they lose a lot of flavor – as well as nutrients.

Dehydrated banana chips

So, when you can get a banana price you can’t ignore, buy a ton or two of them!  A slight exaggeration…  Though, you may want to get 20 or 30 pounds at least.

Bargain bananas at the supermarket.

And, then you can freeze dry bananas ‘til the cows come home!

My wife could not believe I had so many bananas!

With a home freeze dryer, freeze drying bananas is easy.  Plus, the banana’s taste and sweetness are more concentrated after the moisture is removed.  Additionally, freeze dried bananas retain most of their original shape.

I recently made a huge banana purchase that I couldn’t pass up.  My wife’s eyes got as large as a Cheshire cat’s when she saw all the boxes of bananas I brought into the house!  It’s a good thing I own an oversized van!

She even had the nerve to ask me if there was any money left in our account after she saw this Mount Everest pile of bananas!  Can you believe it?

All I could say to her was, “Baby-doll – you know that when I see an opportunity, I have to grab the brass ring!  Don’t you?”

Jim bought a truckload of bananas!

 

The Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer Makes Everything Effortless!

Each freeze dryer load can take about 6 pounds of bananas.

I can run about 6 pounds per freeze dryer load – give or take a few.

Cutting them into no more than quarter to half-inch pieces, I scatter the bananas on the 4 trays – trying to leave as much air space as I can – here and there.  The random air spaces are beneficial to an efficient freeze drying process – making sure that the maximum amount of moisture can be removed during the sublimation* process (*see Freeze Dryer Operation).

It is essential to use Harvest Right Silicone Mats – because, the bananas will stick to the metal trays.  I use these mats for just about every solid food load.  It makes cleanup a whole lot easier – since all I have to do is toss the mats into the top shelf of my dishwasher to get them looking like new again.

 

Freeze Dryer Adjustments

Since my Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer is around 4 years old, the heating pads on the shelves tend to get a bit warmer than they should – so, I customize* my settings by lowering the shelf temperature from 125 degrees Fahrenheit (default) to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit (*see Freeze Dryer Operation).

Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer - shelf temperature adjusted

Then, I pop them in the freeze dryer and let it go to town!

Here’s what the bananas looked like before they were freeze dried:

Sliced bananas ready for freeze drying.

This is after freeze drying:

Freeze dried bananas

You can see that the bananas are a little darker – but, it doesn’t change the texture or the taste.  And, the sizes and shapes are close to those of the original pieces.

Bananas take about 36 hours from start to completion – some loads are more – some are a little less.

 

Final Steps

Dehydrated banana chips and nuts.

Once completed, the freeze dried bananas should be stored in “vacuum sealable” plastic bags – or, Mason jars.  Don’t forget to add an oxygen absorber to either method you’ve chosen.  Then get out the handy dandy Foodsaver Vacuum Sealing System to pull the air out of the containers.  If you opt to use Mason jars, Foodsaver has a Mason jar attachment to make the vacuum sealing a breeze.

I would bet that you have tried dehydrated banana chips at one time or another – but, have you ever tried freeze dried bananas?  They are so much tastier and a sight easier to chew.

 

How To Eat Freeze Dried Bananas

The first way is obvious – eat them “as is” – as a snack.

I also grind banana pieces into a powder with my Ninja and use the powder to make banana shakes, smoothies, and muffins – to name a few other things.

 

Got Some Opinions?

Send me your thoughts.  You can use the comments below or zap me an email.

 

Jim, the Lifelong Gardener

jim@perfect-vegetable-garden.com

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