Nutmeg Banana Chips

Back in October of last year, we made the sixteen hour drive through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and way up north into the tippy top of the lower peninsula of Michigan over The Big Mac and into the Upper Peninsula to see my dad and stepmom. We stocked up for the road trip with the usual suspects: pretzels, sandwiches, water, apples, bananas and whatnot. We ate most of what we had packed on the trip north, but were three days into the visit before we realized we had forgotten a bunch of bananas under the seat in the van. They looked, at that point, like they were fit only for banana bread, so I brought them into the house and asked Val whether she’d like to use them. Val said, “Oh no! Those are perfect for banana chips!” She sat down, sliced them, put them on dehydrator trays and within minutes the machine’s fan was whirring and the house smelled divine.

While the bananas were doing what they had to do, Val offered me a handful of the banana chips she had already made. They were crisp and intense and sweet and totally different than the banana chips I’d had before. All the other ones were greasy* and had a weird after taste. These were caramel brown and clean tasting.

*This is because the vast majority of banana chips (dried or otherwise) that are commercially available are fried, and often in palm oil. Hooooooboy. That previously healthy sounding snack doesn’t sound so healthy now!

Val told me, “Get the reduced price bananas that are intended for banana bread and use those. That way the bananas are already very sweet. When you dry those they’re just that much more flavourful.” So, in the name of quality control, we ate our way through their stash of banana chips for the rest of the visit. Dad and I ate banana chips with apple chips, banana chips with pear chips, triple decker banana/apple/pear chip ‘sandwiches’, and smeared banana and apple chips with peanut butter. We ate a lot.

On the drive home, Dad called me and said, “I just had an idea. What if you sprinkled a little nutmeg over the banana slices as they were dehydrating? Then they would be like eggnog chips.” Ohmygoodness, that was a good idea.

The day after we got home, I was eager to put the idea to the test. I sliced about seven pounds of bananas as thinly as I could without making them fall apart, laid them out on trays and grated a little fresh nutmeg -just a smidge- over the top of all of them. A little over twenty four hours later, we sampled our first banana chips- dead crisp and sweet with full banana flavour -almost like vanilla- and a hint of nutmeg. It didn’t scream eggnog, but it was so good. Now, I know we have a lot of people eating here (okay, we have a Viking horde) but nothing prepared me for the speed with which my guys ate an entire dehydrator’s worth of banana chips. It took them two days. TWO DAYS. Two days to eat seven pounds-worth of bananas dried into chips.

In the months that have passed between October and now, I have made close to fifteen batches of nutmeg banana chips and watched them disappear by the handful into my husband, children and their friends.  They’re so good that a couple of my kids’ friends’ families have purchased dehydrators to keep their kids in nutmeg banana chips. If the fact that they’ll go to a jar of banana chips to sate their hunger before hitting a bag of Fritos isn’t enough to keep me making batch after batch, then this is; even the two vehement anti-fruit two-some loves nutmeg banana chips. I’m going to keep making these until no one wants them anymore, which doesn’t appear to be anytime soon judging by the current rate of consumption.

I have it down to a science and can fill a dehydrator with banana slices in about thirty minutes. And while we like ours thin and crispy, there is a little play you can do with it. Do you want a finished banana chip that’s slightly chewier? Just start with thicker slices! Mess around with it and figure out which way you like them best.

And then have a little more fun. Try them by the handful, on peanut butter sandwiches, in trail mix, or one chip at a time smeared with a little Nutella. Let me know what your favourite way is to eat them. I can’t wait to hear!

Nutmeg Banana Chips

Nutmeg Banana Chips

When overripe bananas are dried with a little nutmeg grated over the top, they become a sweet, healthy, crispy treat. My kids and their friends go crazy over these. I'm sure yours will, too!

Ingredients

  • a bunch of slightly overripe bananas- just about at the banana bread stage. It takes between 7 and 9 pounds to fill my 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator.
  • fresh nutmeg

Instructions

Peel the bananas and slice them into 1/16- to 1/4-inch thick slices. The thinner you slice them, the crispier the final result will be. Grate a little fresh nutmeg over the tops- a little goes a long way. Dehydrate at 135°F for 24 hours or until they are a caramel brown colour and are completely dry. Transfer the dried chips to a large bowl and let them sit exposed until completely cool. Store the chips in glass jars with tight fitting lids or zipper top resealable bags. These will store in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Good luck stretching them out that long!

http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2012/03/23/nutmeg-banana-chips/

Comments

  1. Born25 says

    I rather buy a ready to eat nutmeg-banana chips than making this. I can’t be sure if I could do this perfectly. But thanks for the recipe though.

  2. Katie M. says

    I love your new header! Also I love banana chips and am about to call my dad to see if we still have our dehydrator because those look delish!

  3. says

    I live in Delaware and make the same trip to Michigan, though my family is in the lower peninsula. I love banana chips but mine always turned out chewy. Now I know how to get them nice and crispy! Thanks!

  4. Kristy says

    When I showed this recipe to my daughter, she said we had to get a food dehydrator. I was actually at a meeting with your dad a few days later and he pulled out a bag of them and offered us some. They are so good! Needless to say our new dehydrator is in the mail and we’ll be making these soon! Thanks! :)

  5. :D says

    Which dehydrator do you recommend to get. I just ordered the Nesco dehydrator from Amazon and is returning the Waring Pro at Costco. I had success making doggy chicken jerky in 12 hours with the Waring Pro, but is returning for the fact that it does not have degree temps. Just low to high.

    My second question is, did you need to pretreat your banana with lemon juice/water to prevent browning?

  6. :D says

    I just made these (without the nutmeg because I didn’t have fresh grated). Like I mentioned before, I was waiting for my Nesco dehydrator. It’s too late for me to get the Excalibur which I know may be a better dehydrator for me for the fact that it works like an oven and that you can space the trays further apart for thicker or bulkier items. The banana chips did worked out well on my Nesco dehydrator though. I sliced my bananas 3/8-inch thick and dehyrate the bananas for 24 hours. They do crisp up further as they are cooling before storage. How ripe or browned are your bananas before you dehydrate them because the bananas do get softer the more black they become. I used the bananas that were still slightly green on the ends. Thank you for your post…and next time I will try the fresh nutmeg over the slices.

    • says

      I usually buy the discounted banana bread ones for the process. They have higher sugar content which makes my kids happier. They are definitely more finicky to work with (more prone to squishage) and darken more, but like I mentioned somewhere else, I really don’t mind them darkening.

    • says

      Well, I can only speak for the Excalibur because that’s what I have, but I leave it alone all the time :D I’d read your manual or contact the manufacturer to see if they have any reason you shouldn’t!

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