Banana Candy

Once upon a time, we bought a package of freeze-dried bananas as a snack (on the left in the photo above, though there are just bits and pieces left). A year and a half later, I can’t tell you how much of this stuff we have gone through—it’s like my son’s candy. He also likes the strawberry, mango, apple, and “fruit salad” varieties, but the bananas are his hands-down favorite, and if we let him, he would probably try to eat the whole container in one sitting. Interestingly, Nolan totally rejects fresh bananas when I offer them to him instead; I guess he prefers the light, crunchy texture of the chips to the mush of an actual banana, and munched through the most recent container from Grammie Rita in less than a week.

Short of appealing to my readers for fruit snack donations, I decided my only option was to put my convection oven to the test as a dehydrator. After slicing two bananas about 1/4″ thick, laying them out on my silicone mat, and drying them for 6 hours at 150F, I ended up with a handful of flat, brownish dried banana chips. Personally, I wouldn’t eat them, just because their texture is all leathery with a hard spot in the center. They look and feel like a totally different species from the freeze-dried chips, and Nolan didn’t eat them quite as fanatically as the former, but maybe that’s a good thing. He did still like them, and ate several before they even had a chance to fully cool, so at least I have an inexpensive alternative to tide him over between containers of Just Gone Bananas. And I’m already pondering what sort of fruit to try dehydrating next. Maybe homemade applesauce and apple leather…

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