I hate letting stuff go to waste. Especially food. I hate letting it go to waste more than I hate letting it go to waist. HA! Get it? Ugh, it’s true, though.
Anyway, we eat lots of strawberries and bananas in this house. We go through them like crazy on and off… Sometimes Trent will polish a package of strawberries in a day and other times a package nearly goes to waste. Same with bananas. Actually, if I’m being honest, most of our produce either goes quickly or hardly at all and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. But, no worries 🙂
For Christmas my mother got me a dehydrator. I’ve used it quite a bit in the past few months and I love it! I tend to use it on produce that isn’t being used as quickly as I think it should, but I can’t wait until garden season so I can use fresh homegrown produce in it.
I had a package of strawberries that wasn’t going anywhere and an overripe banana so I decided to throw them in the dehydrator yesterday.
First I washed and took the tops off the the strawberries, then sliced the fruit. I slice strawberries into about 1/4 inch slices and bananas into 1/8-1/4 inch slices. The thinner the fruit is sliced the faster it dries. I have kind of found the thickness I like, but for guidelines try the Backpacking Chef website.
As I slice the fruit I lay the pieces onto the drying trays. It’s important to keep all the trays in the dehydrator, even if you don’t put food on all the sheets. Using less sheets doesn’t allow the appliance to work properly.
Once all the fruit is spread on the sheets and everything is stacked up I attach the lid, insert the drying motor, attach the clips that keep everything closed and together, and switch the dehydrator on. Strawberries and bananas at to the thickness I cut them to need to dry for about 12-14 hours. I check mine after a few hours and then again around 10 hours. And of course every time I walk past the dehydrator I take a whiff. The whole house smells fruity and fresh, but up close is even better.
The fruit is done when it is firm and not pliable but not crispy. It should have a good taste with no burnt flavor. It will look slightly shriveled. I let it rest on the trays for a few hours before packaging. Depending on when I plan to use it I either package in a sandwich bag or in a jar.
I usually just use dried bananas and strawberries alone as a snack, but they also go well with nuts and even some mini chocolate morsel thingies. Yum.