Trying to figure out how to dehydrate bananas without them coming out sticky or soggy? This foolproof guide shares airtight step-by-step instructions on how to dehydrate bananas.
Bananas remain among the popular foods to dehydrate. After all, when dehydrated, they come with a wide range of benefits and uses. These fruits pack a punch when it comes to minerals like potassium and magnesium.
You also have a range of food options to make using dehydrated bananas, whether a classic banana chip snack or banana powder to add to your smoothies. Nonetheless, it’s very easy to make a mistake when drying these fruits.
So, to eliminate any possible oversight, here’s a detailed, error-free, and easy-to-comprehend guide to dehydrating the best bananas.
Why Dehydrate Bananas?
Bananas are amongst the most nutritious edible fruits on the market. They are rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamins, iron, phosphorus, and antioxidants.
Therefore, they come with a range of health benefits, including energizing your body and promoting better eyesight. Due to their high energy index, bananas are also a good snack to pack with you on energy-consuming expeditions, whether hiking, backpacking, or even a day out running.
Now, the best part of using dehydrated bananas is that they retain the same nutrients and flavors as the fresh ones. Plus, you can explore a range of recipes with dried bananas, including;
- Banana chips (great as a snack and candy alternative)
- Toppings for oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and granola cups
- Dippers for peanut butter and other fun dipping nuts/sauces
- Making fruit leather
- Baking goodies
- Powders for smoothies
How Long Do Dehydrated Bananas Last?
Dehydrated bananas should last you anywhere between 12 and 18 months when properly prepared and adequately dehydrated. Some will last you even longer when stored in the right conditions and with the use of oxygen or moisture absorbers.
But, some people also prefer to prepare dried bananas they can consume as snacks for a short period. Typically, these bananas don’t get too crispy and are stored in a Ziploc bag or airtight container in the pantry.
They will typically last for about a week or two. On the other hand, fruit leather lasts significantly less time, about a month to a year in the freezer.
How Long Does It Take To Dehydrate Bananas?
It will take about 6 to 12 hours to dehydrate bananas in a dehydrator at home. The actual duration it takes is dependent on how thick your banana slices are.
Furthermore, you may have to rotate your dehydrator trays every 3 to 4 hours during the dehydrating process to ensure even drying.
What Factors To Consider When Dehydrating Bananas In A Dehydrator
As with other food types, you must pay attention to several factors when dehydrating your bananas. Here are the factors:
- Proper prep: Make sure you clean and pre-treat the bananas before the dehydration process to maintain reasonable shelf life.
- Avoid overcrowding: Make sure you prepare the right batch size for the dehydrator. If you over-stuff your dehydrator with the bananas, you will end up with unevenly dried food.
- Temperature: you have to maintain the right temperature to ensure your bananas dry adequately. Most new models will have clearly labeled temperature settings, guiding you on the right value for fruits, vegetables, nuts, and more. Alternatively, you can consult the dehydrator’s manual if you struggle to know the right temperature for dehydrating bananas. Remember a higher temperature doesn’t necessarily dry your food fast. You will only end up with an ultra-dry outer and underdone, moist interior.
How To Dehydrate Bananas In A Dehydrator
Bananas are typically dehydrated to make classic banana chips (you can later powder if you want) or smooth banana fruit leather. You want to use somewhat ripe bananas (with a firm feel and no brown markings) for banana chips and use heavily ripe bananas (but not overripe, too soft, and brown marked) for banana leather.
Whether it’s banana chips or leather you want to make, you should never use hard unripe bananas or soft overly ripe bananas with brown markings. Additionally, bananas at peak ripeness, like other fruits, are the best choice.
- Citric juice or acidulated water (one part water and one part lemon juice)
- Basting brush
- Coconut oil
- Parchment paper
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Drying time: 6 hours
Now, here’s how you dry your bananas in a dehydrator:
Step 1: Prepare The Bananas
Wash your hands with soap and sanitize your working space (kitchen countertop).
Before you start the process, make sure all your tools and equipment are also clean. The next step is to start preparing the bananas.
Thoroughly wash and dry the bananas using paper towels and start cutting them. When cutting the bananas, you should never slice them too thin, which is why a mandolin is a better cutting tool than a knife.
Bananas shrink in a dehydrator, so cutting them too thin will not do any good. Remember, however, the thicker banana is, the longer it will take to dry.
For banana chips: Use a mandolin to slice the bananas into a quarter to three-quarter-inch rounds.
For banana leather: Use a mandolin to cut the bananas lengthwise into about a quarter-inch strips.
Step 2: Treat the Bananas To Stop Browning
Before tossing the bananas into the dehydrator, you want to treat them to prevent browning.
For banana chips: Dip the banana chips into a one to one part mixture of water and lemon juice or into citric juices (like orange or lemon juice). Dipping the bananas into the juices also helps them last longer after dehydration. The juices act as natural preservatives.
Arrange the chips on a single layer on a parchment paper-lined dehydrator tray. Leave sufficient space between each chip to promote adequate airflow. Lining the tray with parchment paper eliminates the problem of the chips sticking to the bottom surface.
For banana leathers: Lightly brush the strips with coconut oil on both sides, line them on the parchment paper-covered dehydrator trays and press them down gently using a spatula to flatten them on the trays.
Step 3: Dehydrate the Bananas
Toss the tray(s) into the dehydrator and dehydrate the bananas for about 6 to 12 hours at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius. You want to rotate the trays every 3 to 4 hours to ensure thorough and even drying.
After this time, check your bananas for a dry and leathery feel and they should be done.
How to Know Bananas are Dehydrated Enough
You want to check the texture and feel of the bananas to confirm they are dehydrated enough.
No matter the type you go for, bananas should feel dry and leathery when sufficiently dehydrated. Banana chips should also feel crispy when you chew them while banana leathers tend to have a chewy sensation.
Also, check for the surface of the bananas to ensure you don’t notice any moisture build-up. If you still notice some moisture, you will have to toss the bananas into the dehydrator to dry them a little longer.
How to Store Dehydrated Bananas
Dehydrated bananas should be completely dry before you store them to prolong their shelf life. Here’s what you do for short-term and long-term storage;
Whether you intend to store them for a few weeks or longer, you have to condition your dehydrated bananas before storage. Conditioning your bananas simply means bringing the humidity and moisture levels of the bananas to a balance throughout the container.
Doing so before transferring them to their storage vessel prevents moisture build-up and mold growth, facilitating a longer shelf life. There are two ways to easily condition your bananas. The first option involves leaving the bananas for a day or two in their tray inside the dehydrator.
Alternatively, loosely pack the bananas in a see-through airtight container and leave them on the kitchen counter for a week. During this time, you want to occasionally shake the container to ensure the bananas don’t stick to each other.
After leaving the bananas in the dehydrator or container for the prescribed period, check each one for any signs of moisture, if you don’t notice any moisture build-up or mold growth, you can transfer them to their storage containers.
If you notice any moisture build-up, toss the bananas back into the dehydrator, and once dry, repeat the conditioning process. If you notice mold growth, you have to toss the bananas in the trash as this means that they weren’t properly dried.
Short Term Storage
Short-term storage is ideal for those who want to eat the bananas within a week to two weeks. After the conditioning process, you simply toss the bananas into an airtight container or Ziploc bag and leave them on your pantry or kitchen counter.
Long Term Storage
IF you want your bananas to last longer for up to 6 months or more, you want to put them in a more secure setting. After the conditioning process, pack the bananas in an airtight container and place them in a cool, dark place (preferably on a closed kitchen counter).
Some people take a more radical approach and use a vacuum sealer to remove all the oxygen from the container after adding the bananas and then store them with a moisture absorber/desiccant pack. This storage option allows the bananas to last you for up to a year or more. However, a desiccant pack is only necessary if you live in an area with high humidity and plan to open the container frequently.
If you don’t have a dehydrator at the moment, you can dry your bananas using other methods. However, unlike a dehydrator, methods using an air fryer or oven don’t dry the bananas enough to give them a long shelf life. For the most part, bananas dried in an air fryer or oven will last you no more than a week or two. Here’s how you dry bananas using other methods;
How To Dehydrate Bananas In An Air Fryer
To dehydrate bananas in an air fryer, do the following:
- Cut the bananas into one-eighth to quarter-inch thick rounds using a mandolin to ensure they are uniformly thick. Use ripe but, firm bananas.
- Transfer the sliced bananas to a plate or chopping board and line them on a single layer. Squeezing a few drops of lemon juice on each side of the bananas.
- Apply cooking oil spray on the air fryer’s basket or tray, transfer the bananas into a single layer, and give the bananas a good spray of oil.
- This step is optional but you can sprinkle the bananas with your favorite spices and flavorings, like salt, cinnamon, or even pumpkin spice. Coat the bananas using your fingers to ensure proper infusion.
- Air fry the bananas at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can add a few extra minutes (no more than minutes) if you want your chips to be extra crispy.
- Remove the chips from the air fry and let them cool completely. You will notice them get firmer as they cool. Once cooled, you can store or eat them.
- If you notice that your dried bananas are too chewy or soft, you can always toss them back into the air fryer for an extra 3 to 5 minutes. But, you want to keep a close look as they can quickly burn.
How To Dehydrate Bananas In The Oven
To dehydrate bananas in the oven, do the following:
- Preheat the oven to about 215 degrees Fahrenheit/100 degrees Celsius
- Line the baking tray with parchment paper and lightly grease it with parchment paper.
- Cut ripe, firm bananas into thin round slices and line them on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. You want to leave ample room between each banana slice for optimal air circulation and to ensure they don’t stick to each other.
- Lightly sprinkle freshly squeezed lemon juice on the bananas on each side. The lemon juice helps the bananas caramelize easier in the oven while preserving their shelf life.
- You can experiment with spices or flavorings like ginger powder, cinnamon powder, or even vanilla essence for a sweeter, fragrant aroma and taste. Use your fingers to sprinkle and coat each banana with spices and flavorings. This step is optional.
- Transfer the tray to the oven and bake for about an hour to 2 hours. You can flip the bananas over after 30 to 60 minutes for even baking. Once the bananas are dry and firm, remove them from the oven. Let them cool completely before eating or storing them.
Can I Pre-add Spices To Bananas I Intend to Dehydrate in a Dehydrator?
Yes, you can add spices to bananas before dehydrating them. But, if you are a beginner, stick to the traditional dehydrating process, eliminating spices from your recipe. This ensures you achieve an adequate drying level without affecting the fruit.
After all, the mildly sweet taste dehydrated bananas have means that you can always pair them with the food you like afterward, whether trail mixes or even spicy salads.
What Other Ways Can I Dehydrate Bananas?
In addition to an air fryer and oven, you can also sundry your bananas or toss them in a solar oven. However, you have to use a dehydrator for the best results and longer food shelf life.
Learning how to dehydrate your own bananas at home will save you tons on your grocery list. In fact, with the right prep, dehydration, and storage, you can store your fresh batch of dehydrated bananas for well over a year.
Plus, in addition to the nutrition they pack, dehydrated bananas offer a range of possibilities for foods you can prepare at home. Moreover, their energy punch makes dried banana chips a great snack at home, during backpacking, camping, hiking, or even in emergencies.