What do you do when life in Hawaii gives you 99 bananas? Make dried bananas!
Banana “Herb” to the right
This recipe creates bananas similar to dried apricots in texture. You can easily use all the ripe ones at once and create an ono-lishious and nutritious snack that conserves a long time (if you don’t eat them all the first day).
How to Make Dried Bananas
1. First, cut down the bananas…(Bananas are technically an herb, not a tree, in the grass family. My young daughter informed me of this recently. Who knew?) The banana, uh, herb/plant only gives off one stock, then dies. So cut down the entire plant at the base with a machete and let it fall…be careful of the sap – it stains your clothes dark brown. I found this out the hard way.
2. Secondly, give a few bananas to the neighbors. Then heat oven to 170 degrees.
3. Peel and slice about 40 extremely ripe bananas in half, sideways.
4. Lay the bananas on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil or ti-leaves. Think of ti-leaves like nature’s tin-foil; they can be used however you would normally use foil. Wash ti-leaves and cut ends off to fit your trays. Line with bananas. Use trays rather than putting bananas straight on the grill as this makes a soft, caramelized dried fruit, not a dry banana chip.
5. We do this in the afternoon and cook for 3 or 4 hours. Then turn off stove and leave bananas in all night.
6. In the morning, turn oven back on to 170 and cook for another 4 or 5 hours until bananas have shrunk down to about 1/2 their size and are dense and tasty. If they are not dried and firm after 5 hours, leave in for another 2 hours. Delicious warm…
7. After cooling, store in wrapped ti-leaves or tupperware…keiki will easily down 5 or 6 dried bananas in a sitting and get their full dose of vitamins and good stuff without even realizing it.
Tip: If the bananas aren’t ripe enough, the dried bananas won’t be sweet. For the bananas that are partly brown and mushy, peel and store in plastic bags in the freezer to use for smoothies or banana bread.