I am just picking the first few fruit this weekend, there is a lot to come on the tree. I will be eating and drying mangoes for the next week.
The dehydrator is loaded and running as I type. There were not quite enough ripe mangoes to fill it just yet. No problem, I have ripe bananas as well, two trays are banana chips. Both were dipped into grapefruit juice for sealing, the grapefruit are also from the backyard.
A tray of bananas and a tray of mangoes are sprinkled with li hing mui powder. The result is a tangy sweet flavor that is a favorite in the islands. I have come to enjoy the flavor as well, adding it to my dried fruit for years now.
I also have an experiment running… Half a tray of bananas are sprinkled with chili powder. My idea, I suspect Deb will not partake of these chiliban chips.
Three bunches in two weeks. Yes, bananas seem to all ripen at once, as I have noted in the past, it is feast or famine with these things.
This time I am ready, the dehydrator is ready to go and I have worked out the process. Thus the fifth load is in the dehydrator now, starting an overnight run. Tomorrow morning we will peel the banana chips off the racks and bag them for storage.
Prepare a dip of 1 cup citrus juice (lime, lemon, or grapefruit), add several tablespoons honey or agave syrup, add one cup water.
Slice the bananas into 1/4 inch slices
Allow to soak in the dip for a few minutes while you slice more
Spread on the dehydrator trays
Run the food dehydrator for 8-10 hours on medium heat, until the fruit is the desired dryness
The results are pretty good, quite nice to snack on. I use grapefruit by preference, I like the slight tangy taste it imparts to the results and I have a grapefruit tree. If no fresh citrus is available the commercial juice works fine. The same recipe works quite well for mangoes and some other tropical fruit. I prefer the dried fruit to be somewhat leathery, not dried until crisp.
We are attempting to deal with our banana surplus issue.
A bunch of bananas is too much fruit for us to use in the few days before they spoil. A single bunch can yield 50 to 60 bananas. We snack on bananas, we make smoothies, we slice bananas onto our morning cereal, it is still too many bananas. Our standard answer to avoid waste is to give away much of the fruit. Apple bananas are quite popular and quickly accepted when given away to neighbors an co-workers.
Still, it is a long time between bunches, feast and famine, and I would like to have bananas around more often. We have tried freezing, but are not entirely happy with the results, and our freezer space is limited.
This time we are trying dried bananas using a recently purchased food dehydrator. A bit of an experiment, I have never done this before. I dimly remember my mother drying bananas when I was a kid, I do remember the results being pretty good.
We gave away over half of them, still we have a bunch of bananas ripening in the kitchen. Bananas on cereal or just eaten plain, we are eating bananas. Our favorite treat is to make banana smoothies.
Today the recipe was three apple bananas, a cup of yoghurt with the fruit mix (blueberry and açaí), a small handful of frozen raspberries, a double handful of ice cubes, milk and a squirt of agave syrup, blend on high.
Sipping over the keyboard as I type this, I am not going to need much supper.
A third bunch of bananas in as many weeks! Yeah, just a few too many bananas around here. Did the cooler weather bring them all on at once? Look for bunches of apple bananas in the Kohala break room at work tomorrow!
In the meantime… Banana smoothies! Two bananas, a cup of plain yogurt, a bit of milk to thin out the mixture, a handful of ice cubes, and a couple heaping spoonfuls of my sister-in-laws strawberry jam. Blend and enjoy!