If you love having bananas on hand but don’t want to worry about them spoiling, there is something you can do to keep bananas much longer.
Freeze-drying bananas consists of cutting them into thin slices or halving them the long way and placing them in a single layer on a tray. Next, place the tray into your freeze-dryer and select frozen or not frozen. Finally, leave the bananas until finished based on the environment.
Keeping freeze-dried foods on hand is great for smoothies, desserts, or just plain old snacking. As someone who loves keeping healthy snacks on hand, I love the option of freeze-drying fruits like bananas. Below I will discuss how to freeze-dry bananas, how long it takes to freeze-dry them, how to store them properly, and more.
Why You Should Freeze Dry Bananas
First, any fruit you can store for over a week is a plus. Fruits and vegetables tend to go bad quickly and can be pricey when purchasing them frequently. Freeze-drying bananas, strawberries, apples, or other fruits are an excellent way to make the food items last longer while still being delicious!
Freeze-dried banana chips with added sugar and embrace freeze-dried bananas instead. The freeze-drying process removes water while preserving the fruit's essential nutrients, making it low in fat and an excellent source of dietary fiber and carbohydrates.
Plus, they're incredibly versatile; you can eat them individually as a snack or mix them into yogurt, cereal, trail mix bars, or granola bars for a little extra flavor. Alternatively, add some to smoothies or ice cream toppings if you prefer something sweeter!
Freezing dry bananas is a fantastic way to extend their shelf life, with an impressive 25-year storage time if done correctly. This makes them perfect for hiking or camping trips and even for emergency food supply during unpredictable natural disasters. Not only that, but they are also lightweight and portable - making it easy to take your freeze-fried bananas anywhere.
Freeze Drying vs. Dehydrating: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to keeping food safe for a longer duration, both freeze drying and dehydration should be taken into account. But there lies an essential contrast between the two methods. With freeze-drying, ingredients are firstly frozen at a very low temperature before being placed in a vacuum chamber that eliminates moisture from them without changing the nutritional value.
Alternatively, dehydration removes moisture more rapidly and at a higher temperature; however, this process tends to sap the food of many vital nutrients as well as its flavor. Therefore, if you want to preserve your favorite fruits and vegetables without compromising their taste or nutritional value, why not give freeze-drying a try?
How to Choose Bananas for Freeze Drying
To make the best delicious freeze-dried bananas, choose ripe yet firm bananas that will turn yellow-brown when dried.
When choosing a banana for freeze-drying, steer clear of overly ripe or unripe ones. The best bananas have no bruises and are free from defects. Carefully inspect the fruit you pick to ensure it is unscathed before adding it to the process.
Also, smaller bananas work well for freeze-drying because they have a higher surface-area-to-mass ratio.
How to Freeze Dry Bananas
Freeze-drying bananas requires a couple of supplies, including a freeze-drying machine, mylar bags or other storage containers, and parchment paper. Harvest Right is a popular brand for freeze-drying equipment with a great reputation. You will not regret buying any of their products.
Once you have everything in order, it is time to begin the process.
- Peel the bananas and cut them into slices no thicker than ¼ to ensure they dry properly.
- Lay them on a tray covered in parchment paper. (To speed up the process, pre-freeze the trays.
- Consult the manual to see how much you should freeze at a time. Stay around 2.5 pounds for a medium-sized dryer.
- Select the appropriate dryer setting depending on whether you pre-froze the bananas or not. (Most have a frozen or not-frozen setting)
- Let the freeze dryer do its thing.
- Once they have finished, remove them to a mylar bag as soon as you open the door. Any prolonged exposure to the air will cause the bananas to absorb the moisture from the air.
- Store the mylar bags in a cool and dry location for up to 25 years.
How Long Does It Take to Freeze Dry Bananas?
When it comes to freeze-drying bananas, the time required depends on environmental conditions like temperature and humidity level and the thickness of banana slices. Generally, you can anticipate a freeze-drying period of 16 -30 hours at temperatures close to -60°F.
If you live in a dry climate, freeze-drying bananas in 8 to 10 hours is not unheard of. Also, remember that it will take longer for thicker slices of banana to freeze than thinner slices since the moisture needs more time to remove.
The best way to know how long it will take is to experiment. Every freeze dryer will produce different results. Also, the bananas' ripeness, the fruit's temperature, and if they were pre-frozen.
When you first get into freeze-drying, keep a log of how long each food takes and alter based on your findings.
How Long Will Freeze-Dried Bananas Last?
When stored correctly, freeze-dried bananas stored in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber can last up to 25 years. They are ideal for your emergency food stock or just to have on hand in the pantry. For short-term use, you can store the freeze-dried banana chips in vacuum-sealed bags or airtight containers; this will keep their freshness and flavor for weeks.
How to Tell When Bananas are Dried Enough?
Inspect the bananas thoroughly; they should appear dry and firm with no soft or wet spots. Taking a bite into the banana should offer you the crispy texture of a banana chip yet still remain light in quality. If there is any hint of moisture on it throughout, then more drying time will need to take place before you store them for the long term.
How to Store Freeze Dried Bananas
If you want to keep your bananas fresh for years, ensure you avoid exposure to the air as much as possible when removing them from the dryer. Then place them immediately into a mylar bag. If you want to ensure no moisture is in the bag, you can add an oxygen absorber in with the bananas.
If you plan to eat the bananas in the next couple of weeks, storing them in an airtight container is more than sufficient.
How to Rehydrate Freeze Dried Bananas
One of the perks of freeze-drying bananas is that rehydrating them is easy. Add water to a bowl, then throw in the desired amount of freeze-fried banana slices. Then, stir them for 10-15 minutes or until they achieve the correct texture. If needed, leave them in longer, especially if you plan to make a baked good like banana bread.
Is Freeze Drying Better than Dehydrating?
In my opinion, yes. Freeze drying offers many benefits that dehydration cannot. Freeze-drying preserves the food's nutritional content and flavor while reducing weight by up to 98%. This makes it ideal for long-term storage and transportation. Additionally, freeze-drying also eliminates bacteria growth that can occur from traditional dehydration methods.
Can You Freeze Dry Bananas Whole?
Yes, you can freeze-dry bananas whole if this makes them easier for you to store or use in recipes later. It is important to keep in mind that freeze-drying bananas whole will take a significantly longer amount of time than if they were sliced. Therefore, make sure to give the process the necessary time it needs. Whole freeze-dried bananas are excellent for baking and can be enjoyed as a snack just like regular banana chips.
Do I Need to Add Lemon Juice to the Bananas to Prevent Browning?
Nope. One of the perks of freeze-drying is that it preserves the natural color of your food. There is no need to add lemon juice or other acidic ingredients to maintain the vibrancy of the bananas. When making homemade banana chips, it is important to ensure they are completely dried out to reach a crispy yet not burnt texture.
Does Freeze Drying Retain the Banana’s Nutritional Value?
Yes, freeze-drying does retain the banana's nutritional value. Freeze-drying locks in the vitamins, minerals, and other important components of bananas so they can still be enjoyed for weeks or even years after preparation. The process also preserves most of the flavor of the bananas, making them a delicious snack even after being freeze-dried.
Each regular-sized banana contains nearly 12% of the daily value of vitamin C to enhance immunity. Moreover, it supplies 3 grams of dietary fiber and 11% of your daily copper requirement.
They also contain lots of potassium – a mineral necessary for heart health and blood pressure maintenance. Consuming the recommended daily intake of 2,600 to 3,400 milligrams is important in avoiding potentially life-threatening consequences such as high blood pressure or coronary disease. Just one banana offers 10% of your essential potassium needs.
About THE AUTHOR
My name is Virginia Just, and I have a passion for food and consider myself to be a great home cook. I love watching Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef with my husband to learn new techniques. I am currently working on getting my first of many nutrition certifications to become a Nutrition Coach and advise people struggling to stay healthy.Read More About Virginia Just