Cool Christmas present: Banana chips made in my food dehydrator

For all my griping about Christmas, I do feel very lucky. When so many people are struggling financially, G. and I are staying afloat, and we had a very decadent Christmas in terms of gifts. He went overboard, as he often does, and got me a food dehydrator, steaming pot and several cookbooks. He also got me a globe so that we can plan our trips, and my mom got me a professional mixer.

I’ve been using the dehydrator to dry bananas and make chips for snacks. It’s pretty impressive. I can fit 7 pounds of bananas in at once, which is probably close to 20 or so bananas. I slice them 3/8-inch thick and lay them on the trays. That takes some time, but then the dehydrator does the rest.

It takes about 11 hours to dry the chips, so I plug the dehydrator in before I go to bed, get up in the morning, go to the gym and then unload it before I leave for work.

This is what 7 pounds of bananas that have been dried looks like.

I took some banana chips to work last week, and my co-workers were all over them. They don’t taste like the kind that you buy commercially. I think those are dipped in a sugar syrup before they are dehydrated because they have a crunchy exterior and a kind of sticky gloss on them. Mine are still a little bit chewy. I don’t think I’ve removed every bit of moisture. And there’s no sheen. The directions said I could dip them in honey before I dry them, but I figure, why add sugar if I don’t have to?

I like the chips because while I like bananas’ flavor, I don’t like their mushy texture. Drying takes care of that. The edges of the chips are crunchy and the centers are just a little chewy.

The dehydrator also came with a tray to make fruit leathers, and I’m going to try that next. I’m looking forward to being able to do that more in the summer, when we have strawberries. And I can dry tomatoes and peppers then too. Very cool.

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