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Making Dehydrated Puréed Banana For The Trail

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I LOVE BANANA’S!!!

Ok I just had to get that out of the way… I really do love bananas… I eat two or three a day, usually green ones… I only eat green bananas… bright yellow bananas are just nasty!!

I just got my Excalibur [3926TB] 9-Tray dehydrator back from my father who has had it for awhile and the first thing it is doing is making up some banana purée for me.

Banana purée is, simply put, bananas that have been peeled and puréed – think very thick applesauce, except bananas.

This is a great way to have bananas while out hiking, or even around the house, and I prefer it over dehydrated banana slices because it is more versatile and easier to use – because dehydrated banana slices are usually really really hard to rehydrated and are nasty nasty nasty if you do. With banana purée it is very easy to rehydrate it – it can very easily be rehydrated for use in smoothies (even trail smoothies), and because the bananas are in purée form you can do a lot more too it, such as add vanilla or other fruit purée to give it some different flavors.

Here are the basic details:

I started with 25 bananas of all different sizes, most of them green but a few way to ripe ones.

I peeled them.

I puréed the bananas with a Nutribullet.

I sometimes flavor them with vanilla or other  purée fruit or veggies (pomegranate seeds are always good, as is adding in some applesauce) and on very rare occasions I will use some cinnamon powder.

I place the purée on ParaFlexx Premium Non Stick Drying sheets and let them dehydrate for 10+ hours.

 

Here are some photos:

IMG_0409

25 Bananas Peeled & Ready To Go

 

Using a Nutribullet To Purée The Bananas

Using a Nutribullet To Purée The Bananas

 

Here Is The Consistency Of The Puréed Bananas

Here Is The Consistency Of The Puréed Bananas

 

25 Bananas Makes A LOT Of Purée!

25 Bananas Makes A LOT Of Purée!

 

Adding Vanilla To The Purée (I used about 1oz in the large bowl and 0.3oz in the smaller bowl)

Adding Vanilla To The Purée (I used about 1oz in the large bowl and 0.3oz in the smaller bowl)

 

Banana Purée On The Tray

Banana Purée On The Tray (yes, that is VERY thick Purée!!)

 

 

A Try Or Two Got Some Cinnamon Powder Added To Them!

A Try Or Two Got Some Cinnamon Powder Added To Them!

 

Cleanup Includes Purée Banana Peels For The Rose Bushes!

Cleanup Includes Purée Banana Peels For The Rose Bushes! (edible, yes, but better for the rose bushes than for you or I) Doing this adds about 20 minutes to the total time investment, but the rose bushes are worth it and they love this stuff!

 

Photos, Post-Dehydrating:

A few photos of how it all turned out.

All four trays of the puréed bananas!

All four trays of the puréed bananas!

 

One of the thick trays.

One of the thick trays.

 

The same thick tray, showing the thickness.

The same thick tray, showing the thickness.

 

The same thick tray, broken into fairly large pieces, before going back into the dehydrator for another two hours.

The same thick tray, broken into fairly large pieces, before going back into the dehydrator for another two hours.

 

After it is all said and done I ended up with a one-gallon back that was half-full (this game from the large bowl, fully spiced), and one small bag of non-spiced, and one bag of heavily spiced.

After it is all said and done I ended up with a one-gallon bag that was half-full (this came from the large bowl, fully spiced), and one small bag of non-spiced, and one bag of heavily spiced.

 

Overall Weight Results:

I did not weigh the 25 bananas before I started to purée them, I just used what I had sitting in the house, minus a few to hold me over until I got back to the store to buy more, so forgive me for not having that information. But, just go grab 25 bananas take them home, peel them, and weigh them if you are curious ;)

I had two trays of spiced banana purée and they came out to 310 grams (~11oz).

I had two trays of spiced banana purée and they came out to 310 grams (~11oz).

 

The one tray of non-spiced puréed bananas came out to 174 grams (~6.14 oz).

The one tray of non-spiced puréed bananas came out to 174 grams (~6.14 oz).

 

The one tray of heavily spiced banana purée came out to 183 grams (~6.45oz).

The one tray of heavily spiced banana purée came out to 183 grams (~6.45oz).

 

Thick vs Thin Purée:

Whether you choose to make thin or thick purée is all really a matter of what you want to do with it. The thinner it is the faster it will dehydrate, but also the more bulk/volume that it will consume inside of your backpack. As I typically have a very small backpack during the summer seasons (under 20 liters) volume/bulk space is a precious thing to me, so this time around I choose to use a thicker layer of banana purée. For winter season I will use much thinner purée so that it does not take as long to dehydrate, and rehydrate, and because I use a much larger backpack where overall volume is not such an issue.

The thicker your purée is the longer it will take to dehydrate. It tends to take an additional 4-6 hours if you are using really thick purée, such as I have.

I start off having the dehydrator at 135° and after the initial 12 hours – at which point I take it out and break it into smaller pieces – I increase the temperature of the dehydrator up to 155° and let it dry out for another 4-8 hours (or as needed).

Just be aware that the thicker you make it the longer it will take to rehydrate. With the thicker layers what I do is place it into a peanut butter container after I have finished eating dinner and let it sit all night and add it to my oatmeal or smoothie the next morning. The thinner purée will still take a few hours to get mushy though, so don’t expect it to be a 10 or 20 minute soak in hot water like the standard dehydrated trail meal.

 

Showing the differences between thin and thick purée.

Showing the differences between thin and thick purée.

 

Rehydrating & Consuming:

So the best part of all of this, is of course, getting to consume the banana purée. But I never take food I have dehydrated out onto the trail before I test it at home, nothing is worse than having dehydrated food out on the trail that just will not rehydrate properly, so be sure to test it before you bag it up and throw it into your backpack!

One ounce of dehydrated banana purée and a PB jar.

One ounce of dehydrated banana purée and a PB container.

 

The one ounce of dehydrated banana purée inside of the PB container.

The one ounce of dehydrated banana purée inside of the PB container.

 

After adding 100ml of 200°(f) water to the container.

After adding 100 ml (3.38 oz) of 200°(f) water to the container.

 

(I will add a photo here, tomorrow morning, once it has rehydrated and is ready to go into my morning bowl of oatmeal)

 

Long Term Storage:

With all of my dehydrating articles I get asked a LOT about how long the food will remain stable and not go bad. I have banana purée that is over a year old and still perfectly safe to use. I have kept bags of food in storage just to see how long it will last before going rancid and my original batch is over two years old. It is stored in a regular ziplock bag, and not even an airtight bag.

There is, of course, a trade off. The longer you want it to last the longer you have to dehydrate it, and the longer you dehydrate it the longer it will take to reconstitute (get mushy again). If you are planning to make it and use it within a month, you can save yourself hours and hours of dehydrating time and get it to a point where it is still fairly dry but still a little mushy and it can stay good for a month or two, and save yourself waiting around for hours for it to soften back up (keeping you from having to have it reconstituting all night long).

I tend to make very large batches of dehydrated food that might sit around all hiking season, and sometimes even into the next years hiking season, so I really let it dehydrate to a point where there is very little water content within the dried purée.

YMMV of course.

 

Grinding For Smoothies:

Gotten a number of folks asking about turning the dried purée into powder for smoothies, so here is how I do that process.

Started with the large bag of dried banana purée (310g) and took a hammer to it to break the pieces down small enough to fit into a burr grinder.

Started with the large bag of dried banana purée (310g) and took a hammer to it to break the pieces down small enough to fit into a burr grinder.

 

Here is the size that I end up after taking a hammer to it.

Here is the size that I end up after taking a hammer to it.

 

Here is the twice burr grinder (espresso fine) banana purée, now in 'powder' form.

Here is the twice burr grinder (espresso fine) banana purée, now in ‘powder’ form.

 

I end up with 293 grams of powdered banana - ready to go into any smoothie - be it at home or on the trail.

I end up with 293 grams of powdered banana – ready to go into any smoothie – be it at home or on the trail.

 

Honestly, Mr. Ranger, its just powdered banana!!

Honestly, Mr. Ranger, its just powdered banana!!  (individual size baggies for smoothies – one for each morning – while it takes extra prep-work, it can save an entire bag from going bad if water gets into the only bag you have the powder in)

With it being ground up this fine there is NO pre-soaking required – just take a spoonful out of the bag and throw it into your smoothie, oatmeal, or if you are a FlatCat Gear dry baker this would make one really awesome backcountry banana bread or banana pancakes!

 

Other Dehydrating Articles:

You might also be interested in my article on making dehydrated bacon.

 

Article Updates:

May 25, 8pmpst – Added section on creating the powder.

 

Thank you,
+John Abela
HikeLighter.Com


In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that as of the day of publication of this article I am a sponsored hiker of Montbell AmericaBlack Rock Gear, Suluk46.

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Written by John Abela

May 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

8 Responses

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  1. Great article. I have a dehy and have done a few things like rice, spag bol, apples, bananas and jerky. But to be honest I gave up (too much of a hassle) and just buy my dehy from Back Country Foods.

    I use to use lemon juice with the apples and bananas to stop them “browning off”

    Your idea of puréeing is unique. Maybe worth digging out the my dehy again.

    rlmckay

    May 25, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    • Hey Rob, yeah I agree that a lot of food is just not worth the hassle. Sometimes, though, buying what you want is just not doable. Yeppers, I usually use lemon juice, but in this situation, with the vanilla I mixed in, it was going to turn brown regardless, so didn’t bother with it.

      The reason I usually purée is so that I can easily put it into a burr grinder and turn it into powder, for trail smoothies. Probably all of this batch will get turned into powder for smoothies for the rest of the year.

      John B. Abela

      May 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      • I like the smoothie idea as this is my usual “home” breakfast. You could drop in a couple of spoonfuls of protein powder along with milk powder

        rlmckay

        May 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm

  2. Great post! I too like green banana’s…just a little riper than you, but not much. I’ll definitely give this a try.

    Have you tried grinding the pieces to a medium (coffee grinder) powder form? I’ve done it with dried sweet potatoes using pretty much the same process you described in drying banana’s. The powder form rehydrates very easy, fast and consistent.

    JERMM

    May 25, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    • Thanks!

      Yes I use a KitchenAid Pro Line Series Burr Mill to do my grinding. I only have one small bag left from last years batch so it was time to make some more.

      And yeah, once it gets into powder form, the whole issue of waiting for it to rehydrate is no longer an issue. I’ll take a photo of it after I push it through the burr grinder and attach it to the article.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      John B. Abela

      May 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm

  3. Heck yea, that’s a great post! Great write-up; very detailed and awesome photos to accompany.
    That puree looks so tasty!

    Virginia Craft

    May 27, 2014 at 4:12 am

  4. This was an awesome write up. Did you add anything to keep it from turning black/grey in the dehydrator? Every time I try to do bananas they turn grey unless I soak them for a really long time in a preservative bath. I never even thought of doing a puree to dry but I love the idea of making really thin banana “chips”.

    Cynthia Jendrejcak

    May 27, 2014 at 9:02 am

    • Hello, it was not something I was worrying about because they were going to turn brown regardless of the fact – because of the vanilla that was added to it.

      Yep, by turning the bananas into purée you are able to make *very* thin banana chips!

      John B. Abela

      May 27, 2014 at 9:30 am


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