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How to Dehydrate Bananas (With or Without a Dehydrator)

Dehydrated Bananas

Not only is dehydrating bananas a great way to create snacks that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, it is also is a good way to preserve bananas. As drying removes moisture from the fruit, bacteria and mold cannot grow and spoil the food. Read on to learn how to dehydrate bananas at home, with or without a food dehydrator.

How to Select & Prep Bananas for Drying

When selecting bananas for drying, make sure they are free of blemishes and bruises. They should also firm and ripe, but not over-ripe. To prepare the bananas, peel them and cut into uniform slices that are 1/4" thick or thinner. You can cut the fruit either crosswise or lengthwise. If you decide to cut them crosswise, it is a good idea to use a food processor fitted with a slicing blade to ensure the slices are uniform (NutriBullet's Veggie Bullet is great if you want to make really thin slices).

If you want your dehydrated bananas to have a light color, you will have to pre-treat them with a solution that helps prevent browning before you dehydrate the slices. Here are a couple pre-treatment options that are commonly used to prevent bananas from turning brown in the dehydrator:

  • How to use lemon juice & honey to pre-treat bananas: Dip the sliced bananas in a mixture containing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of water. Not only does this treatment help prevent browning, it also adds sweetness to the dehydrated bananas (contrary to what you might expect, dried bananas are not naturally very sweet). On the flip side, using a solution that contains honey adds calories, so if you are trying to keep your calorie intake in check, you may want to use another type of pre-treatment.
  • How to use ascorbic acid to pre-treat bananas: First, make an ascorbic acid solution by mixing pure ascorbic acid powder with water in a bowl. A common recommendation is to use 2 tablespoons of ascorbic acid powder per quart of water. Pour the solution into a clean spray bottle suitable for food preparation, and spray the sliced bananas with the solution on both sides. Thicker slices can also be directly dipped into the solution (in that case, allow them to soak in the solution for 10 minutes).
  • How to use citric acid to pre-treat bananas: Make a citric acid solution by combining 1 quart of water and with 1 teaspoon of food-grade citric acid in a mixing bowl. If the banana slices are thick, you can gently transfer them to the bowl and allow them to soak in the solution for 10 minutes. Thinner slices are better treated by spraying them with the solution.

How to Dehydrate Bananas

If you have pre-treated the sliced bananas with one of the anti-browning solutions listed above, plot them dry with clean paper towels if they still have excess moisture on the surface. After completing this step, your bananas are ready to be dried. The best way to dehydrate bananas at home is to dry them in a dehydrator. If you don't have a food dehydrator, you can also use an oven to dry bananas, but be aware that using an oven to dehydrate foods can be quite expensive because of the electricity needed to operate an oven for several hours.

How to Dehydrate Bananas in a Dehydrator

  1. Place the dehydrator in a dry, well-ventilated room. Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, making sure the slices are not touching.
  2. If you have an Excalibur or Tribest Sedona dehydrator, or any other model that allows you to set the drying temperature, set the temperature to 130°F to 140°F (or 54°C to 60°C). Place the trays in the dehydrator.
  3. Check the banana slices often and turn them every few hours for best results. If you are using a dehydrator with a bottom-mounted fan, you will also have to rotate the trays to ensure even drying. If you are using a dehydrator with the fan in the back, rotation of the trays is not necessary.
  4. It will take about 6 to 12 hours to dry the bananas at 135°F, depending on how thick the slices are and how crisp you like your dehydrated bananas. If your dehydrator operates at a preset temperature, the drying time may be shorter or longer.

How to Dehydrate Bananas in an Oven

  1. First, check that your oven can be set to 130°F to 140°F. If your oven does not go this low, then your bananas may cook instead of dry.
  2. Place the sliced bananas on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, making sure the slices do not overlap. Do not load more than 4 sheets.
  3. Preheat the oven to 130°F to 140°F, and slide in the loaded sheets. The oven racks that hold the cookie sheets should be at least 3 inches apart to ensure good air circulation. What's more, if you are using a conventional oven instead of a convection oven, you should leave the oven door open about 2 inches to allow moisture to escape.
  4. Examine the bananas often during the drying process to avoid scorching, give them a flip every now and then, and rotate and turn the trays frequently.
  5. Take the dehydrated banana slices out of the oven when they are crisp and dry to the touch. Drying times for bananas in good convection ovens are often similar to those reported for dehydrators. Conventional ovens, by contrast, are much less predictable, and in some cases, dehydrating bananas in a conventional oven can take up to three times as long as drying them in a dehydrator.

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