With their sweet taste, distinctive smell and bright yellow color, bananas boast a wide variety of uses from food source to medicinal purposes. "The banana plant, because of its continuous reproduction, is regarded by Hindus as a symbol of fertility and prosperity, and the leaves and fruits are deposited on doorsteps of houses where marriages are taking place," according to University of California Los Angeles economic botany professor Arthur Gibson's course website. Boasting high levels of calcium, potassium and carbohydrates, bananas can be enjoyed raw, cooked and dried.
Peel the bananas, setting aside those that are overripe and mushy or badly bruised.
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Cut away minor bruises and imperfections from the bananas with a small knife.
Slice the bananas horizontally into 1/8-inch slices.
Soak the banana slices for 10 minutes in an anti-darkening solution such as ascorbic acid or citrus juice such as lemon, pineapple or orange.
Remove the bananas from the liquid with a slotted spoon and arrange them on a large baking sheet. Organize the slices in a single layer.
Set the baking sheet in the oven set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and leave the door propped open at least 2 to 4 inches.
Place a fan outside the oven door to assist with air circulation.
Leave the bananas in the oven for 8 to 10 hours. Check on the oven temperature with an oven thermometer every two hours to ensure that the temperature is between 140 and 150 F.
Check the bananas after eight hours for consistency and texture. Take bananas out when they are leathery or keep them in longer to reach a brittle texture. The bananas should produce no moisture when squeezed.
Things You'll Need
Ascorbic acid or citrus juice
Store the dried bananas at room temperature in an airtight container labeled with the current date. Bananas dried to a leathery consistency can be stored for a month, whereas bananas dried to a brittle consistency can be stored for up to a year.