My 1st attempt drying apples, bananas

SnailLoverFebruary 24, 2014

The snail food was a big hit. I love my dehydrator! Now for some people food.

I tried it with apples & bananas this weekend. I did a quick google search beforehand and found a site that said to soak the slices in lemon juice for a few minutes. So I did. I dried them at around 130 degrees for 8 hours. I didn't turn them over at all. The texture of the apples was perfect - just the right amount of crunch, like a nut!. The bananas were gummy. The bad part is that they all have an overpowering lemon taste. Why did I not think this would happen? They're edible (I don't mind lemony things), but I won't be sharing this batch with coworkers.

What should I do differently the next time? Is the lemon juice necessary?

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strawchicago 5a IL

Hi SnailLover: I grew up in a tropical country and folks there sliced bananas thin into a sheet ... then roast that sheet over low-charcoal heat .. it becomes chewy like fruit-roll-up. No acid nor oil was used.. That toasted sheet is WAY-BETTER than the dried & crunchy banana chips sold at store.

Below is a recipe to puree the bananas into a mush to bake banana roll-up, but mush-up stuff turns brown quickly. Folks in my country sliced bananas length-wise into strips, then merge the strips together into a sheet, then roast under low charcoal heat for 1 hour. It's the best dried bananas ever !!

Here is a link that might be useful: How to make banana fruit-leather (not the best way!)

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Feb 24, 14 at 10:43

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 10:37AM
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grainlady_ks

WOO HOO! What a great way to start. ;-)

Dehydrated apples are a BIG part of our diet. They are used to make all kinds of things - apple pie/crisp, applesauce, added to quick breads and homemade granola, as well as a favorite out-of-hand snack food. Once new-crop apples are available, I'll dehydrate 50- to 75-pounds of apples and store them in canning jars in the basement.

I'd REALLY suggest a hand-powered peeler/corer/slicer if you do a lot of apples. Otherwise, I suggest one of those corer/slicers you push through an apple. Then with a paring knife you can quickly slice each large apple slice into several 1/4-inch slices. You can also use a cutting mandoline and slice the apple, starting at the bottom to the stem in complete apple "rounds", core and all, for very little waste. You will get a decorative star-shape center where the seeds were. Don't bother removing the seeds, they generally fall out during drying. If not, a poke with a toothpick will take care of them.

Bananas, not so much..... In order to dehydrate bananas until they are crispy dry, you need to choose bananas that are UNDER-ripe (less sugar developed in them) and firm, and over-dry them. And when they do get crispy, they quickly rehydrate and soften. The crispy dried bananas you have probably eaten, and are more familiar with, are actually deep-fried, not dehydrated. I will incorporate bananas in fruit roll-up mixtures, which work best if they are ripe and sweet. I do have a handy-dandy banana slicer that cuts a banana into even slices which helps them dry evenly, and if you are going to dehydrate a lot of bananas, I'd suggest getting one.

Back to apples.... You can sprinkle apples with cinnamon or cinnamon/sugar. You can also sprinkle apple slices with Jell-O powder (a little goes a long way, so use a VERY light hand - place the powder in a salt shaker and cover all but 2 or 3 holes). Keep this in mind if you have some less-than-tasty apples. My favorite apples to dehydrate are Jonathans, but I pick a LOT of free apples and if they aren't as sweet and flavorful as I'd like, I'll "doctor" them with cinnamon, or occasionally, some kind of sweetener (Trehalose) and cinnamon if we're going to use them for snacking (although we normally just eat them plain). Otherwise, less-flavorful apple slices work well for applesauce since it can be easily flavored with cinnamon and sweetened (if necessary) after it's rehydrated.

PRETREATING: I'd suggest an acidic bath (1 quart water + 1 T. ascorbic acid powder, citric acid powder, or Fruit Fresh - which is a mixture of ascorbic and citric acid) rather than full-strength lemon juice. If you'd rather use bottled lemon juice, the ratio is 1 c. lemon juice to 1 quart of water. Lemon juice is only 1/6th as effective as ascorbic acid. This pretreatment does several things. It helps prevent the fruit from oxidizing/browning - Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant - it adds a little Vitamin C to the finished product, and most important, it helps prohibit microbial growth (such as Salmonella and E. Coli 0157:H7).

There are new recommendations for drying that nearly always includes some form of acidic bath pretreatment to prohibit microbial growth.

You will find a lot of up-to-date information about dehydrating at the link below. The recipe for Mango Leather is one of my granddaughter's favorites. I also mix fresh (or frozen) peaches and mangos using this recipe.

-Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: National Center for Home Food Preservation

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:01AM
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SnailLover

Strawberryhill, this sounds delish and so simple!

Grainlady, thanks for these tips. I will get some of the ascorbic acid or Fruit Fresh and give it another try. I've been munching on my goodies all day. So much healthier than candy or chips, and satisfies my need for gnashing.

Many thanks! Can't wait to give this another try.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 3:37PM
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grainlady_ks

Don't forget, dried fruit is a form of concentrated sugar and fiber since a large portion of the water has been removed, and can contribute to dental problems, just as eating any kind of sugar will. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water if you can't brush them after eating any kind of dried fruit, to remove the sugar that will stick to your teeth.

A serving of dried fruit is 1/4-cup and counts as a portion of your daily fruit requirements - it's not a free snack food - and can actually be high in calories from sugar. I'd mix a little dried fruit with some sunflower seeds, or other nuts, so you don't just get a sugar-rush, and have a little protein to balance it out.

-Grainlady

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 5:05PM
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SnailLover

That definitely makes sense. I like the sunflower seed idea. I've never been a disciplined snacker. If it's in front of me, I have to eat the whole thing.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 6:50PM
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mitchdesj

There's approx 210 calories a cup for dried apples, not bad if you can limit yourself, no fat but it's pure sugar.

I love dried mango but the calorie count is even higher, 310 for a cup. Like you, if I have a package of that in the house, I seem to want to see the bottom of the bag very fast.

A cup of celery has 18 calories, :(

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 5:22AM
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grainlady_ks

What to do with a dehydrator....

-We eat dehydrated zucchini and cucumber slices. Great for dipping into a homemade yogurt-based (kefir-based in my case) dip.

-Homemade fruit roll-ups are used as a base for making a cooked fruit sauce.

-At the end of the growing season I started dehydrating kale and stored it in canning jars. Great for adding to all kinds of things - soup, dips, green drinks.....

-When I make sprouts (a large compliment of grains/seeds/beans) I generally make enough to dehydrate a portion of them. They cook much faster, and things like sprouted lentils and buckwheat can be seasoned with a spice mixture and make a great snack food, or you can add them to granola or top your salad with them instead of croutons.

-I keep on the lookout for discounted mushrooms when grocery shopping and slice and dehydrate them. In fact, don't let produce die of loneliness in the crisper drawer ever again, dehydrate it before it ends up in the trash.

-I recently made buckwheat (soba) noodles - http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2009/05/homemade-buckwheat-soba-noodles-gluten-free.html - and dehydrated them. So now I have a nice little stockpile of dried noodles. If you decide to make dried pasta, make sure the recipe is egg-free! Dehydrating raw eggs can be a food safety issue. You can also opt for using a pasteurized egg product like Egg Beaters or powdered eggs.

-A lot of "raw" foods recipes (cookies, breads, crackers) go into the dehydrator.

-After making almond (or other nut) milk, I often dehydrate the pulp and use it in recipes calling for almond flour. I also use the wet pulp to make dehydrated cookies, crackers, and "cereal".

-After the first hard frost I pick rosehips from rose bushes. Cut and discard both ends, slice the remaining portion and dehydrate (110-degrees F). Dry until crisp and hard. Rose hips are a great source for vitamin C and I make tea mixtures with them.

-When I find a good bargain on frozen vegetables, but not enough space to park them in my refrigerator freezer, I dehydrate them. The nice thing is they have already been heat-processed, so you don't have to blanch them. They go straight from the bag to the dehydrator. ;-)

-Grainlady

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 7:26AM
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