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< prev - next > Food processing Snack foods KnO 100181_Banana chips (Printable PDF)
Banana chips
Practical Action
Selection of raw material
It is essential to use under-ripe green bananas as these have the correct texture for drying and
frying. If plantain is used, select nearly ripe fruit that has stiff and starchy flesh. Ripe and over
ripe bananas and plantains should not be used as the texture is too soft to make the chips.
For banana figs, fully ripe fruits with a sugar content of about 20% are used.
Preparation of raw material
Bananas should be peeled just before they are used because when the flesh is exposed to the air
it turns brown. This does not affect the eating quality but it does not look very attractive. Peeled
bananas can be prevented from turning brown by brushing them with a solution of ascorbic acid
(vitamin C) or the juice from lemon, lime or orange. Alternatively, the peeled banana slices can
be soaked in a solution of citric acid (made by mixing 1 part lemon juice with 2-3 parts water) for
3-5 minutes. Do not leave the slices in the water for longer than this as they become too wet and
soft and will take longer to dry. Remove the slices from the water and allow to drain.
Slice the bananas crosswise or diagonally crosswise for the smaller bananas into slices that are
about 5-8mm thick. Try to ensure that all pieces are the same thickness so that they all dry and
fry at the same rate. A packet of banana chips of varying thicknesses is less attractive than one
in which the pieces are of uniform thickness. You can use a small kitchen slicer to ensure that the
pieces are of uniform thickness.
Pre-treat the slices with acidified water, a solution of ascorbic acid, a fruit juice dip or a honey
dip to prevent them from browning.
Ascorbic acid solution: Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) mixed with water is a safe way to prevent fruit
browning. In some places, ascorbic acid is available in the powdered or tablet form, from
pharmacies or grocery stores. One teaspoon of powdered ascorbic acid is equal to 3000 mg
ascorbic acid in tablet form. (If you buy 500 mg tablets, this would be six tablets). Mix 1
teaspoon of powdered ascorbic acid (or 3000 mg of ascorbic acid tablets, crushed) in 2 cups
water. Place the fruit in the solution for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove fruit, drain well and place on the
dryer trays.
Fruit juice dip: A fruit juice that is high in vitamin C can be used as a pre-treatment, though it is
less effective than pure ascorbic acid. Juices high in vitamin C include orange, lemon, pineapple,
grape and cranberry. Each juice adds its own colour and flavour to the fruit. Place enough juice
to cover the fruit in a bowl. Add the cut fruit and soak for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove fruit, drain well
and place on dryer trays. This solution can be used twice before being replaced (the used juice
can be consumed).
Honey dip: Mix 1 cup of sugar with 3 cups of boiling water. Add 1 cup of honey to the sugar mix
and stir to make a liquid dip. Either place the banana slices into the dip for 3-5 minutes and then
remove, or brush the chips with the dip after they have been placed on the dryer tray. Dried
banana chips dipped in honey are sweeter and have a higher energy value than those that are not
dipped. Many of the commercially available banana chips have been dipped in honey or a syrup
solution prior to drying.
Fried banana chips
Some processors partially dry the banana chips before frying them. This is to remove some of the
moisture from the chips before drying, which results in crispier banana chips. However, during
the time that they are drying, the banana slices are prone to darkening which reduces the quality
of the final product. You can also fry the banana slices without drying them. If you soak them in
a syrup or salt solution before frying, drain them well before drying to ensure that they are dry
before they go in the oil.