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Whether you are new to dehydrating food in general or want to try something new, bananas are a great food to dehydrate. You can make air fryer banana chips really easily which can be a great snack that is also healthy. Homemade banana chips are fun to make, healthy to snack on, and will be a great reason to dust off your air fryer if you haven’t used it in a while!
Table of Contents
What Is Dehydrating?
Dehydrating food is when you leave it in an environment of constant heat. The heat is low enough that it will not cook the food, but it will remove the majority of the food’s moisture content. Dehydrating food has been a common practice for as long as history can remember and is also the practice used for creating very popular household foods such as raisins and beef jerky.
Dehydrating can be done in multiple different ways, but without a doubt, the oldest form of dehydration is using the sun. This has been used for ages and is still often used to this day. Sun-drying uses the natural heat of the sun to dry food. When it first started being a common thing, there would be a lot of risks to do with spoilage but now you can get nets and protective items so your food can dehydrate in the sun without the risk of animals or insects getting to it.
Alongside sun drying, there are also a few other methods. These methods are air drying, solar drying, and oven drying. These methods all have their own merits in why they should be used in different circumstances. Air drying is helpful if a food item needs to be protected from the sun’s rays, and solar and oven drying are newer methods that are quicker and more efficient.
Why Dehydrate Food?
There are a lot of reasons why you should dehydrate food. Some of the reasons are more to do with changing the flavor or texture of the food to make it a different experience altogether, whereas other reasons are for preserving or storing the food for a long period of time.
Dehydrating food is the oldest form of preservation known to man. Removing the moisture content from food increases its shelf life a lot. This is linked to why freezing food also increases the shelf life. A vast majority of the foods dehydrated can be rehydrated when introduced to moisture and water again. This was used a lot when seasonal crops were limited to single seasons, They would be dehydrated and stored for later use to avoid them going off or spoiling.
Not only is it great for preserving food for a long time, but dehydrated food is also a lot easier to store. Not only is the food typically smaller due to losing moisture, but the conditions it must be stored in are also completely different.
Chilli peppers are very commonly dehydrated as they can be stored in an airtight bag for ages, and do not need to go in the fridge. They can be left in a cupboard for as long as you need and then be added to a bowl of water to be rehydrated back to their former glory.
While it may seem weird to try and ‘transform’ food, it is really common. As mentioned earlier, raisins and beef jerky are both products of dehydration. A lot of fruit can be dehydrated and turned into a crunchy snack to enjoy whenever. It is arguably more convenient than carrying fresh fruit around, but more importantly, it is also a nice change.
While grapes are delicious, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to change to raisins and enjoy a different flavor and texture. This goes for a lot of things, especially beef. You could always eat beef at home with a knife and fork, or you can dehydrate it and have little sticks of dry beef to take with you when you leave the house.
One of the most annoying fruits to buy in bulk is most definitely bananas. They seem to have a ridiculously short shelf life, and unless you love them, are more bought for when you crave them. If you’re anything like me, one week you can buy a bunch of bananas and eat them in a day, and the next week you can buy a bunch and not want a single one until it is too late.
One of the best ways to preserve bananas and store them for longer is by dehydrating them. Among all of the fruits, bananas are arguably the easiest to dehydrate. You can also try making banana bread or freezing bananas to preserve them or stop them from going to waste. However, dehydrating them is easily worth a go if you have never done it before.
If you are looking for a healthy snack that also doesn’t either break your bank or take up all of your time, then air fryer banana chips are going to be your new best friend. The only way to get these is by dehydrating bananas, but how you do it is up to you.
How To Dehydrate Bananas?
If you are wanting to dehydrate bananas but want to use your air fryer, then you will have to check a couple of things before you start getting ready to dehydrate. Firstly, some air fryers have a special ‘dehydrate’ mode. As you can tell by the name, this is going to be really helpful during this process. If you still have the manual or informational booklet that came with your air fryer, you can read it to see how your dehydrate mode works.
If your air fryer does not have a dehydrate mode, you will want to see how low the temperature can go. If your air fryer goes as low as 55 degrees C or 130 degrees F, then you are in luck. If your air fryer does not go this low, you might want to choose a different method of dehydration such as a dehydrator or a solar dehydrator.
Ingredients For Dehydrating Bananas In An Air Fryer
While I’m sure you can guess what a huge ingredient we will need is, there are also a couple of other things you must prepare.
Firstly, you will want an air fryer that works for dehydrating food. The specifications for this were just mentioned so if you’re still reading, I assume that means you have the right sort of air fryer.
Other than an air fryer, you will also want to put some thought into where you are going to store your dehydrated fruit. You could simply eat the fruit right away, but it is best to store the food properly if you do not intend on eating it all at once. For this, you can choose a Ziploc bag. This will stop any extra air and moisture from getting to your fruit, which will keep it as crispy as ever. An airtight container is also a good idea as they are easier to store thanks to their box shape.
Bananas may seem like an obvious ingredient in this, yet it is still important to think carefully about what type of bananas to use. There is nothing to stop you from using any banana you want, but how old the banana is will impact your cooking time. Soft bananas cook a lot quicker, so it is better to do this when your bananas are coming to the end of their shelf life.
While you want crunchy and crispy air fryer banana chips, there is a point where they get too hard and end up being unpleasant to eat. To avoid this, you will want some oil. Extra virgin olive oil works well, but you can choose sunflower oil or vegetable oil too if you want. It is best to stay away from the oils that overpower the flavor of food such as peanut and sesame oil.
Although it is completely optional, you may want to get some stevia or a similar sweetener. This can be sprinkled over the banana chips and will give them an even sweeter flavor. It can be skipped, if you do not want them to be any sweeter as bananas are slightly sweet already.
Preparing The Bananas
As for preparation, there is nothing overly complicated. Although, you will need a shallow bowl of lemon juice nearby while you are preparing your bananas.
To start off, you will want to peel your bananas and make sure they are healthy. If there are any ugly spots that are really brown, slice them out. If it is only a slight bit of discoloration, then it will be fine. Once you have peeled your bananas, you will want to cut them.
Cutting your bananas may seem like an easy task, yet it can also lead to an issue later on. If you can get your hands on a professional slicer that cuts your fruit into even pieces, then that will be ideal. If not, try your best to cut them evenly. If your slices are all even, then they will cook evenly and should all be done around the same time. Uneven slices will all be finished at different times which can be very annoying to deal with.
Now that your bananas are cut into even slices, you will want to dip each slice into lemon juice. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown soak, but ensure they are covered in the juice. Similar to making fruit salads and using lemon juice in them, it has the same use here.
Bananas brown really easily once they are out of their peel, similar to an exposed apple. The lemon juice will prevent the browning while they dehydrate, which will result in a batch of banana slices that look a lot nicer. This is arguably an optional step, but it makes the banana chips look so much nicer when they are done, so I would argue that it is worth it.
Dehydrating Your Bananas
Finally, you have all of your banana slices prepared for dehydrating. Assuming they are all covered in lemon juice to prevent browning, we can continue. To actually begin the process of dehydrating, you will want to lay your banana chips on the air fryer shelves. Make sure to spread them out evenly, because if they touch or overlap, they will take longer to dehydrate as that will trap moisture.
Once your banana slices are evenly spread in the air fryer, lightly add your olive oil. It is best to do this with a spray as it is a gentle and even coating, but doing it manually is fine too. Once your oil has soaked in and settled, you can sprinkle your stevia on the chips lightly, if you choose to do so at all.
After all of this, you can turn your air fryer on and either set it to dehydrate mode or alternatively set it to 55 degrees C or 130 degrees F. Let the air fryer banana chips dehydrate for 3 hours at least. This will vary a slight bit depending on how even your slices are.
Once three hours have passed and your banana chips look perfect, you can remove them from the air fryer and allow them to cool. Once cooled, you can either eat them all or appropriately store them. To store them properly, you will want some type of airtight container. This can be a Ziploc bag or a plastic Tupperware container. The fresh air will provide moisture which will stop your crispy banana chips from being so crispy.
You can easily air fry banana chips to make them as crispy as possible but if not stored correctly, all that hard work can be ruined. Storage is very important.
After following all of this, you now have a gorgeous healthy snack straight from the air fryer basket. Dehydrated banana chips are healthy, crunchy, and just plain and simple fun. While these dried banana chips are great, you can experiment with different types of bananas. You can use ripe bananas, or even have a shot at making plantain chips instead. Air frying banana chips is easy, and so is dehydrating food in general. I recommend looking at more air fryer recipes and seeing what else there is to make.
Why Make Homemade Banana Chips?
While this recipe is great for using up any bananas that are at risk of spoiling due to not being eaten, the recipe is also a great reason to go out and buy bananas, just for this reason alone. There are so many benefits to making and eating your homemade banana chips.
Air fryer banana chips are healthy, for a start. As they are being made in an air fryer, there is no excessive use of oil as there is in deep-fried banana chips. The oil can also be minimized if you want to be even healthier. The end product is a low-calorie, high-nutrient treat that can be a healthy snack for children and adults alike.
A lot of recipes that utilize fruit will have you add extra sugar as you are essentially diluting the sweetness of the fruit with the other ingredients. In this recipe, as we are removing the excess moisture from the bananas, we are also concentrating on the natural sweetness of the bananas used. This results in the banana chips being deliciously sweet without the need for added sugar. While stevia is recommended to make them sweeter, it is completely optional.
One of the more important reasons for making these at home in your own air fryer is that it is far more cost-effective. It is so much cheaper to make them yourself, provided you have an air fryer than it is to buy them from a shop. The ingredients alone will cost a similar amount to store-bought crispy banana chips and will yield a higher amount of chips, too.
Dehydrated banana chips, when handmade by you, can be tailored to your liking. While you may find some store-bought banana chips that you like, it may feel like something is missing. When you make them yourself, you don’t have to follow a dehydrated banana chips recipe entirely. You can branch-off and experiment. Maybe you want to add cinnamon to them or use lime juice, or coconut oil. Maybe you want to try them with a sprinkle of chili powder. It might turn out amazing, it might not. It is up to you to experiment.
You Should Dehydrate More Food
While this is one of the simpler dehydration recipes out there, it is great for introducing you to the entire process. If you enjoyed this and got the urge to try other recipes and ideas, then that is good. There is so much out there that you can try. You can start with the basics such as banana chips, raisins, beef jerky, and dried peppers. However, once you feel more comfortable with the process, and maybe even buy a proper dehydrator, you can experiment with all kinds of recipes and ideas.
FAQS On Dehydrating Bananas
How long does it take to dehydrate bananas in an air fryer?
The general rule of thumb is that 130 degrees F will dehydrate your bananas in around 3 hours. There are a lot of variables that will affect this, such as how thick the slices are, if they are evenly cut, and evenly spaced apart.
What temperature do you dehydrate bananas in an air fryer?
Banana slices can be dehydrated in an air fryer at 50 degrees C or 130 degrees F. Some air fryers will have a dehydrate mode, and others will be capable of going as long as 130 degrees F. Not all air fryers are capable of this, so you might not have an air fryer that is capable of dehydrating.
How do you dehydrate bananas so they are crispy?
Alongside dehydrating them at the right temperature for the right amount of time, you can toss your banana slices in lemon juice to stop browning. This will also improve the overall texture and taste of the end product. Another way to ensure your banana is crispy is to apply a light amount of oil to it, this will help it crisp.