Saturday, February 22, 2014

DIY Banana Chips



I've had a love/hate relationship with bananas. Early childhood experiences on our family's banana plantation and the glut of bananas it brought into our life ruined them for me for quite a few years but I came back to them as a grown-up (I did a guestpost about it over at Better In Real Life if you want to read more about those traumatic fond memories).

Now that Dear Boy will eat fresh banana (hooray!) I've been trying to keep a few in the house - yes, I'm that person in the supermarket who breaks two or three bananas from the bunch. I keep them away from the other fruit but they still tend to freckle and overipen before we get around to eating them all. I keep a stash of banana pieces in the freezer for our favourite smoothies, but there's really only so many smoothies you can drink. I'm contemplating some banana-flavoured baking but, in the mean time, the bananas are getting pungent.

The answer?


DIY banana chips. Dear Boy is a fan of these crunchy little morsels but the commercial variety are fried in dubious oils and sugared and preserved with who knows what. They're pretty easy to make yourself though and you can be more assured of what's going in them.

In ours, there were just two ingredients: bananas (on the ripe side) and lemon juice (to prevent browning).


I used a slow-oven method so didn't use any oils, just sliced thinnish rounds, dipped them in the lemon juice and lay them on a wire rack over a baking tray. I left them in a 100-degree (celcius) oven and turned them every half an hour or so for four hours. These ones are crisp and chewy at the same time and you'll get the same sort of texture if you use a dehydrator. To get the super crisp variety, you really need to deep fry them in a good, non-hydrogenated coconut oil.

The issue with these is that because they are essentially dehydrating in the oven, you're losing the filling bulk that fresh banana provides you when you munch down on them as a snack. Two bananas only made a handful of chips and, like any dried fruit, it would have been easy to eat too many. Banana bread (with a metric crap tonne of hidden veggies) is probably a better use of your bananas if you're wanting more bang (or bulk) for your buck. 

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