We enjoy banana chips, as well as many other dehydrated fruits, but making them is a tedious process. We invested in a food slicer to process bulk meats and more solid fruits and veggies, but bananas are a different challenge. When my wife brought home a large load of very ripe (and discounted) bananas, I decided to make a large batch of chips, but wanted an easy way to slice them. I looked at the egg slicer and decided it would work great if it was a larger version, so I whipped up a prototype.
I save the better logs I cut around our property to make boards, and here you can see my stash of mostly white oak boards.
I pulled one and ran it through the planer after cutting it down.
I cut the board down to make the frame pieces, and also the internal cutting board, then glued and nailed up the frame. I then spaced and drilled a series of holes to weave the wire in.
I did not buy any special wire since this was just a prototype, but I did have some steel wire on hand I use for repairs, and it worked great.
After cleaning up the boards I oiled them with some olive oil I had on hand and you can see the result here. It was an acceptable finish for this little project. Here is the test cut in action. It worked exactly as planned.
We had a decent supply of tomatoes from our garden this year, and decided to experiment with different ways of preserving them. One of the ideas I had read about was making chips, that are good just as a snack, or re-hydrated in meals.
We took a couple of buckets of tomatoes and made a combination of types to see what works best.
For the dehydration process, we sliced them and used salt, garlic and Italian seasoning lightly sprinkled on them, then into the Excalibur dehydrator until crispy.
The final product was delicious, and we stored them in glass mason jars that we also use for canning. They make a great snack and are a project we will be repeating.
Lessons learned include:
- Use meaty tomato varieties
- go light on the salt as they are concentrated when they dry
- do not slice too thick if you are making chips, but ensure you have enough to have a body to the finished product. I find under 1/4 but more than 1/8th is generally good.