Thursday, July 14, 2022

How to Make Freeze Dried Bananas

Learn how to make freeze dried bananas at home.  Not only do they make a delicious healthy snack, but freeze drying bananas also gives you a shelf stable baking ingredient that will be invaluable in your food storage.  You can learn how to make freeze dried banana chips and freeze dried banana powder with a Harvest Right freeze dryer.

How to Make Freeze Dried Bananas

After we got our Harvest Right freeze dryer, we were eager to try making freeze dried bananas.  My kids love bananas, and I wanted freeze dried banana powder for smoothies and for baking.

I was the expensive grocery store in our area and found a 40 pound fruit box of ripe bananas for $5!  So we were peeling and cutting bananas at 9 pm to get them prefreezing to make freeze dried bananas.

Learning how do you make freeze dried bananas is pretty easy.  I'll go over the steps for using a freeze dryer and the benefits of freeze drying.

For more freeze drying recipes, check out these posts:

What is the Difference Between Freeze Drying and Dehydrating?

I do both dehydrating and freeze drying, and they are similar but not the same thing.  I have an entire post devoted to how to dehydrate bananas with oven, air fryer, and dehydrator directions.

  • Freeze drying removes more water, so the food is dry and crunchy.  Dehydrated bananas are chewier.
  • Dehydrating takes 6 to 30 hours, but freeze drying takes 18 to 35 hours, depending on the food.
  • A dehydrator is cheaper at around $100, but it can be more for some models.  A freeze dryer costs several thousand dollars.
  • Dehydrated food lasts from a few weeks to a year if stored properly.  Freeze dried food can last up to 25 years if stored properly.  Learn how to store freeze dried food.
  • Freeze dried food can be reconstituted.  
  • Dehydrated food loses about 40 percent of its nutritional value.  Freeze dried food food retain almost all of its nutritional value.

You can learn more about freeze dry vs dehydrated here.

Can You Make Freeze Dried Food at Home?

Yes, you can freeze dry food at home with a Harvest Right freeze dryer.  They have the original home freeze dryer and were the only one available for home use until recently.

4Patriots just released a home freeze drying system.  I have not heard any reviews about it, so I can't say how it works.  I'd love to try it, so maybe in the future I'll get to try it out.

Other than these two machines, it's not possible to freeze dry at home.

How Much is a Freeze-Drying Machine?

Harvest Right offers three sizes:

  • Small for about $2700
  • Medium for about $3200
  • Large for about $3800

I have the medium, and I can make 10 pounds of freeze dried food at a time.  You'll need some freeze dryer accessories to go with the machine.

The 4Patriots freeze dryer retails for about $6,000. 

I completely understand that buying a freeze dryer is an investment.  We chose that investment for our future and for our kids so they will have a means to preserve food.

You can also buy freeze dried bananas.  4Patriots sells freeze dried food, including bananas, and you can also find freeze dried bananas on Amazon.

What Chemicals Are Used to Freeze Dry Fruit?

You do not need to use any chemicals to freeze dry fruit with a Harvest Right machine.  You may use vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, to prevent browning if desired.

Are Freeze Dried Bananas Hard?

Freeze dried bananas are firm, but they aren't hard.  They are crunchy and not at all chewy like dehydrated bananas.

How Do Freeze Dried Bananas Taste?

Since freeze drying removes water, they retain the flavor but with less water.  This can make the flavor intensified.

They have a very true flavor with a crunchy and dry texture.

Can You Freeze Dry Whole Bananas?

Yes, you can.  I recommend cutting them in half to make them smaller so they freeze dry sooner.

I cut mine into slices.  Then I can eat them as a snack or torn them into freeze dried banana powder.

How Long Do Bananas Take to Freeze Dry?

It takes about 24 hours for freeze drying bananas.  You can reduce this time by prefreezing the bananas on your tray.

Sliced bananas will also dry faster than whole bananas.

I recommend keeping a freeze drying log to keep track of run times.

How Long Do Freeze Dried Bananas Last?

Freeze dried bananas stored in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber will last up to 25 years.  I recommend adding them to your emergency food supply.

You can also store the freeze dried banana chips in a vacuum sealed bag for a few months or in an airtight container for a few weeks.

Remember to label your mylar bags!  You can sign up for my newsletter and get a free sheet of labels to print at home.  

How to Rehydrate Freeze Dried Bananas

We eat the freeze dried banana chips as is or I make a freeze dried banana powder to add to smoothies or other foods.

If I want to make banana bread, you'll need 3 parts water to 1 part banana.  A whole banana is about 1/2 cup of mashed banana.  Let the bananas soak for 20 minutes and stir well.  I use an immersion blender.

The water amount isn't exact.  I add more water or more bananas as needed to get the right consistency.

I use freeze dried bananas to make my one bowl basic banana bread.  It has a delicious flavor, but it is a bit denser than using fresh bananas.  

You can also use it in one of these recipes using freeze dried fruit.

Freeze Drying Bananas Ingredients

You will need the following to learn how to make freeze dried bananas:

  • 10 pounds bananas (for a medium Freeze Dryer.  Use 4-7 pounds for a small or 12 -16 pounds for a large)

How Do I Freeze Dry Bananas?

Step #1

Peel the bananas and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices.  You can also cut the banana in half and lay it on the tray.

Step #2

Add up to 2.5 pounds of bananas to each tray for a medium freezer dryer.  I like to prefreeze my trays before loading them into the freeze dryer.  This is optional, but it saves times.

Step #3

Place the trays in your freeze dryer and shut the door.  Start the machine and press frozen or not frozen, depending on if you prefroze the bananas.  Then let the machine do its thing.  I like to add 2 hours extra drying time.

Step #4

When the machine is done, you can remove the trays and package the bananas in mylar bags  If you do not remove them right away, the machine will keep them cold.  Press warm trays to warm the trays and bananas so they do not absorb extra moisture while you are packing them.

Now you know how do you make freeze dried bananas!  Enjoy!

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