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Dehydrating Food: Rounds Two and Three

July 25, 2008

The Banana Chips

If you can recall, one of my great ambitions with the dehydrator was to make banana chips. Come to think of it, I’m not sure exactly why. I just always see them at the store and they often seem to find their way into trail mixes, but I’d never tried them. I thought that they would be great!

Hm. Not so much.

I did follow the instructions correctly. I even made half of them plain, and half of them with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top to be all adventurous. And I let them dry for the required amount of time, true to the book.

But the taste! I love bananas. I love frozen bananas and banana bread and bananas in my oatmeal and banana pancakes. Bananas with peanut butter. Bananas in fruit salad. Banana splits. Bananas in smoothies.

You get the point. Bananas, in my book, are great (although things that are banana flavored, like candies and medicine? YUCK. I hate banana flavored things. But real bananas are yummy). Dried bananas, in my book, are not. I suppose its the concentrated flavors that just taste odd to me. They are so sugary when dried that it just about hurt my teeth. And thats just the plain dried bananas (you can imagine how sickeningly sweet the sugar and cinnamon bananas are).

Luckily I managed to pawn some of these disappointing banana chips onto my family- if you live with me, you have the unfortunate guinea pig status of obliging me by tasting all the food I make. So I don’t think I’ll be making these banana chips again, but I’m happy that I tried them out, at least.

Beef Jerky

The beef jerky was a whole other story! After soaking the jerky (thinly sliced round steak) all day in a marinade of 3 parts soy sauce, 1 part brown sugar and 1 part liquid smoke, I placed each piece onto the dehydrator trays and let them dry overnight. By morning, the strips had turned a crispy black and were thoroughly dried. Tasty and delicious! Normally I’m not the type of person to go out and buy myself jerky, but this beef jerky was really fantastic. It was gone within two days and everyone who tried it loved it.

I’m so glad that the beef jerky turned out so successfully in addition to the dried apple pieces that I made before. These are both going to be frequenting my kitchen all the time now!

But amidst drying beef and apples, I want to experiment with drying other foods too. What do you all think? I’m considering trying nectarines. But I’ve never been a big dried fruit eater in the past, so I’m uncertain as to which foods will yield the best results (especially after the banana chip failure:)). If you’ve got any recommendations or suggestions I’d love to hear them!

21 comments

  1. You have a dehydrator, a DEHYDRATOR, how cool is that? Have you tried tomatoes (I’ve done them in the oven and they’re pretty cool)? Pears should work too. Wish I could play too.


  2. You are brave to try the dehydration route. Oh so many things can and do go wrong. HA.


  3. I’m not a fan of banana chips either. My husband would love your beef jerky, he buys jerky all the time. And has to share it with the cats. They are also fans. Me, not so much.


  4. Dee- I know, I’m super lucky:) I want to gather together as many fun kitchen appliances as possible. Wheee! And I’ll definitely try the tomatoes and pears:)

    John- well knowing my kitchen skills, I can only imagine what terrible things could occur in my dehydration attempts. If something can go wrong, you can bet that I’ll figure out how to mess it up.

    Javachick- thats too cute that your cats enjoy the jerky. My cat probably would too, but I like it too much to want to share it with her.


  5. I wonder if you could make your own raisins? hmmm.

    I love jerky!!


  6. Homemade raisins – that would be cool! What a fun appliance to play around with.


  7. I am with you. Bananas yes, banana favored..NO. I have always been a fan of blueberries…can anything be done with those?


  8. dangnubbit.

    now I REALLY wanna find my dehydrator.

    it is still lost from the move…8 months ago 🙂

    love the homemade jerky.

    M.


  9. Robin & Missicat- the raisins are a great idea! Must see if I can find a recipe for those and figure out how to do it.

    Mark- I love blueberries too- but thats part of the problem. They're so good fresh that I wouldn't want to dry them!

    MizFit- finding things from storage is so much fun:) Mmmm jerky.


  10. I’ve tried to make banana chips, but without the use of a dehydrator. Didn’t work too well to say the least! 😉

    I’m with you, though; I like real bananas best.


  11. The beef jerky does rock. My parents have a dehydrator and my dad always makes big batches of jerky and mails me a couple bags of it. Yummy!

    I feel about peaches the way you do bananas. They are so yummy but I don’t like peach flavored stuff-just doesn’t taste right to me.


  12. Susan- how did you try to dry them without a dehydrator? I’m intrigued!

    Crystal- yum, big batches of jerky! And I wonder how dried peaches would taste?


  13. Ahh, no worries – gotta love bananas anyway!! ;0)

    Try drying peaches – that’d be scrumptious!!


  14. Tomatoes work really well in the dehydrator. I’ve been drying spinach like a fiend, and it works amazingly well. I crumble it and used it in spinach cheese bread yesterday – hubby loved it! (I was pleasantly surprised.)
    Herbs, like oregano, basil, parsley, all work well.
    I haven’t tried using the dehydrator for hot peppers yet. Last year I just strung them and dried them the old-fashioned way.
    If you dry tomatoes, herbs and peppers and grind them together, you’ll have a fabulous spice blend to add to things like chili or pasta.
    (Is it deja vu, or did I leave a similar comment last time….? I must be getting old. sigh)


  15. You guys are really making me want a dehydrator!

    Are they expensive? I’d have to weigh how often I’d use it against the cost, but it sure sounds tempting.


  16. I’m so so so so so so jealous! I have asked for a dehydrator for Christmas for the past 3 years. My family ignores the request. My dream in life is to make beef jerky, turkey jerky, fish jerkey. Any kind of jerky, really. Probably not chicken jerky. Keep us posted on your adventures in dehydrating!


  17. This makes me curious if I’d like home-dried banana chips. I like the ones you can buy from grocery and health food stores, so if they taste like that, I imagine I would.


  18. surely liquid smoke cannot be that healthy? Or maybe I am decieved!


  19. Rebecca- http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070314/news_lz1f14focus.html

    With moderation:)


  20. last half of the site:
    ews_lz1f14focus.html


  21. I have to admit that beef jerky done in the dehydrator is the BEST! I do a mix of sweet soya sauce/liquid smoke/and hickory bbq sauce marinage and it’s to die for. 😉 Get an excalibur dehydrator, they’re awesome! 😉



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