Due to recent high winds from Hurricane Issac many banana trees were blown down before their fruit had a chance to fully ripen. A quick drive around the neighborhood produced several stalks of free bananas for the taking. These stalks can weigh upwards of 30-50 lbs -- now that's a whole lot of bananas!
What to do with that many bananas before they go bad?
1. My favorite use of the green ones are to make french fries.These can be frozen for future use. When cooked the taste is indistinguishable from potato fries.
2. The firm ripe bananas are used for drying into banana chips
3. The soft ripe bananas are mashed for banana nut muffins.
I have created Instructables for all three uses of bananas.
Step 1: Before Getting Started:
As most folks who have babies know, the clear juice from bananas will put a permanent stain in clothing. The problem is that you don't see the stains until after the garment is washed.
Here is a good trick - not for your old banana juice stains, but for preventing those accidental new ones when you forget to wear your "banana shirt".
Keep the clothes wet until you launder them. I did one quick test - it was laundry day, and I took an old white t-shirt and got banana juice on it good. Dropped it in the washing machine - set on cold wash pretty much straight away, and it came out 99% no stain. So maybe just a bucket of clean cold water immediately would do it.
Wearing a plastic apron is the safest way to keep from getting the dreaded "banana stains".
Step 2: Ingredents/ Supplies Needed
Use only firm ripe bananas - if they are too soft/ripe the chips won't become crisp.
Food grade Citric Acid @ 1 teaspoon per gallon of water, or lemon juice @ 3-4 Tablespons per gallon of water for soaking. This will keep the chips from darkening during drying and storage.
A large bowl for soaking the fresh cut banana slices.
A solar or electric dehydrator - or, you can put them in old-time oven with the pilot light on.
Step 3: Preparation and Drying
Slice the peeled bananas 1/4" thick.
Place them into the bowl of acidulated (citric acid/ lemon juice) water.
Stir and let the chips soak for at least 10 minutes.
Drain and place (with no overlaying slices) on the dehydrator trays.
Let dry until the chips are stiff and not sticky.
Step 4: Packaging and Storage
After the chips have fully dried, let them cool then store in an airtight storage container. I use freezer bags and store the chips in the freezer. The quality of the chips will last longer in a cool/cold dark storage area (freezer).
The chips are great for snacking or adding to recipes for a surprise treat.