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Dehydrating Food: Rounds Two and Three

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:05am
The Banana Chips

If you can recall, one of my great ambitions with the dehydrator was to make banana chips. Come to think of it, I'm not sure exactly why. I just always see them at the store and they often seem to find their way into trail mixes, but I'd never tried them. I thought that they would be great!

Hm. Not so much.

I did follow the instructions correctly. I even made half of them plain, and half of them with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top to be all adventurous. And I let them dry for the required amount of time, true to the book.

But the taste! I love bananas. I love frozen bananas and banana bread and bananas in my oatmeal and banana pancakes. Bananas with peanut butter. Bananas in fruit salad. Banana splits. Bananas in smoothies.

You get the point. Bananas, in my book, are great (although things that are banana flavored, like candies and medicine? YUCK. I hate banana flavored things. But real bananas are yummy). Dried bananas, in my book, are not. I suppose its the concentrated flavors that just taste odd to me. They are so sugary when dried that it just about hurt my teeth. And thats just the plain dried bananas (you can imagine how sickeningly sweet the sugar and cinnamon bananas are).

Luckily I managed to pawn some of these disappointing banana chips onto my family- if you live with me, you have the unfortunate guinea pig status of obliging me by tasting all the food I make. So I don't think I'll be making these banana chips again, but I'm happy that I tried them out, at least.

Beef Jerky

The beef jerky was a whole other story! After soaking the jerky (thinly sliced round steak) all day in a marinade of 3 parts soy sauce, 1 part brown sugar and 1 part liquid smoke, I placed each piece onto the dehydrator trays and let them dry overnight. By morning, the strips had turned a crispy black and were thoroughly dried. Tasty and delicious! Normally I'm not the type of person to go out and buy myself jerky, but this beef jerky was really fantastic. It was gone within two days and everyone who tried it loved it.

I'm so glad that the beef jerky turned out so successfully in addition to the dried apple pieces that I made before. These are both going to be frequenting my kitchen all the time now!

But amidst drying beef and apples, I want to experiment with drying other foods too. What do you all think? I'm considering trying nectarines. But I've never been a big dried fruit eater in the past, so I'm uncertain as to which foods will yield the best results (especially after the banana chip failure:)). If you've got any recommendations or suggestions I'd love to hear them!
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