Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Going Bananas!

Today I’m drying bananas and I want you to try this. Wait, wait…don’t hang up! Seriously if I were the one reading this post, I’d skip over it because I do NOT like dried bananas. Okay, if it were the only thing I had to eat I would eat them, but I wouldn’t like it. There is a method behind all this madness though.

I love banana bread. Maybe it is because when I took 4-H it was the very first thing I learned to make. Maybe it is because when I buy bananas and we don’t eat them all up, I make banana bread with the last 2 or 3 and maybe it tastes so good because I know I didn’t waste those last few bananas (I HATE to waste). Whatever it is, I really do like it. Even stranger is the fast that I still use the same recipe that I used when I was 10 years old. I’ve tried others, but this one always turns out and is easy to make.

There really is a point to all this banana talk. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I would miss fresh fruit if all of a sudden I couldn’t buy it anymore or it wasn’t available to buy. I could get by without fresh bananas, although I do crave a good banana occasionally, but I would really miss my banana bread.

In thinking about this I decided I really needed some dried bananas in my storage, not to eat but to rehydrate and use in banana bread. This is one of those things that is really easy to do, doesn’t take much time and I’m sure I’ll be glad I did. Here is how I do it:

Drying Bananas
Slice bananas ¼” thick
Dip in pineapple juice, lemon or lime juice
Lay on your dehydrator sheets (you can grease sheets lightly if you like, I use the mesh inserts that came with my trays)
Dry 8-12 hours until desired dryness.
Cool a banana slice completely to test for desired dryness.
Dry pack or vacuum seal for later use.
*Note: My recipe for banana bread calls for 2 bananas. I counted the slices when I was drying them to see how many to put in each pouch when I dry packed them. I figured it is about 25 slices per each medium-large banana in your recipe. More or less, doesn't really matter, that is just a guide I use so that I can use one pouch per batch of banana bread.

If you have had dried bananas before that you have bought, you will notice that these do not get hard and crisp like those (you can dry them a very long time if you want crisp). The reason that they are not crisp like the bananas you buy is because they are fried. In oil. Then dried. Hmmm maybe that is the thing I don’t like about dried bananas is that they are fried. In oil. Just seems wrong to me.

These bananas that I am drying are to use in banana bread. Not snacking; but you can do as you wish. I dried mine overnight and they were still a little soft but there was no moisture in them. They are ready to seal and save until you have a banana bread craving. Then, just pour boiling water over the dried bananas and let them stand 10 minutes, or until soft, drain and mix in your bread as usual. If you don’t have a favorite banana bread recipe, here is my very favorite of all time. If you use powdered butter, eggs, milk and lemon juice, this can be made totally from your food storage. Sans the nuts. Oh yes, I will miss my pecans in almost everything I bake. I do try to keep extra on hand at all times but man, are they expensive now!

1 cube butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 large bananas, mashed
1 ½ T. milk
1 t. lemon juice
¼ t. salt
½ t. soda
1 ½ t. baking powder
2 c. sifted flour
1 c. chopped nuts
Whip butter & sugar together. Add eggs & beat well. Mash bananas with lemon juice and milk. Add bananas to butter mixture. Add flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir in nuts & mix well. Bake at 350º for 45-55 minutes in 2 small loaf pans (7½ x 3½”). Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. When done it will pull away from sides of pan. Test with a toothpick in center for doneness.


Becky said...

awesome!! This is an area I have been working on to - drying bananas. And the sole purpose is so I we can have banana bread on an occasion.
Thanks for sharing that you have discovered this also.

PS - do you have a good homemade pudding recipe. I have one... I think I will try to convert it to a banana pudding recipe so I can use my dried banansas this way too.

Pam said...

Great idea. Let us know if you figure out how to do it. I had never thought of banana pudding but that would be great to be able to do that from dried bananas. I ALWAYS buy way more bananas than we can eat and being able to use them later (other than freezing) is a good feeling.