Making Dehydrated Puréed Banana For The Trail
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:
A few photos of how it all turned out.
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 ;)
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.
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!
(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.
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.
May 25, 8pmpst – Added section on creating the powder.
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 America, Black Rock Gear, Suluk46.