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Dear Editor:

A few years ago I purchased a package of banana slices at Sam’s Club that were not the rock hard chips that are being sold in many stores and online. The consistency was the same as the dried blueberries, cherries, etc. that are sold everywhere. I have tried to find these soft banana slices everywhere and cannot find any. Do you know of any company that carries the soft banana slices? If I can’t buy them anywhere I am wondering if it would be possible to prepare these slices at home using the microwave or maybe a dehydrator. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

Thank you,

FP

 

Dear FP,

I wish I knew of a source for those banana chips – they sound delicious! But since I don’t, I’ve done a little research for you to see what others have to say about making these delicious snacks. It sounds quite easy to do. You’ll want to start out with ripe bananas – a few brown spots on the peel is about the right ripeness. Green bananas are said not to have the right moisture content or sweetness for dehydrating.

  • Cut your bananas to 1/4” thickness and use a sharp stainless steel blade, if possible. Cheaper blades will make the bananas turn dark brown.
  • Soak your banana slices in lemon or lime juice for 15 to 20 seconds. This will keep them from darkening.
  • Lay the banana chips on your food dehydrator’s trays (you can line them with parchment paper to make it easier to lift the slices when they’re done) and cook for 8 to 10 hours. According to my sources, the consistency of the slices will be leathery and soft at this point, but of course, you’ll need to experiment to get them the way you want them.
  • Store them in an airtight container or plastic bags in your pantry.

Thanks for writing!

The Editor

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Dear Editor,

I’m interested in canning butter for storage purposes. I know I can freeze it, but I’d really like a way to store it that doesn’t rely on the grid. Do you have any recipes for this?

Thanks!

NH

 

Dear NH,

First, let me state that the FDA does not think that the home canning process can safely heat up dairy products to an adequate temperature for safe storage. (I had to get that out of the way. Now, let’s get down to canning butter.) I have several recipes for canning butter, and I’m not going to say that they are perfectly safe and you should do it. I will just say that I have not had any problems with this process. Please understand that there are many food storage practices that the U.S. government deems “unsafe,” but we all know that they speak out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to food issues. I try to follow safe handling procedures to a fault when canning and advise you do the same. That means be nitpicky about the cleanliness and sanitation of your jars, the heating of your rings, and the utensils you use to put the food into the jars. Be just as nitpicky (and more so) about the food going into the jars.

Here is the recipe for canning butter in a pressure canner:

  • Prepare your jars. You can run them through your dishwasher and sterilize them, use boiling water to sterilize them, or heat them on a baking sheet in your oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. Boil some water in a pan and turn it down to a simmer, and then submerge your lids and bands. (I know that technically the bands don’t touch anything and don’t have to be put in the same pot as the lids. I told you I was nitpicky…)
  • Get your pressure canner ready according to manufacturer instructions.
  • Melt your butter in a pot over low/medium heat. Stir continuously and bring to a boil. Once it has boiled for about two minutes, reduce heat to a simmer and allow it to cook for 20 minutes. Stir continuously so the butter does not scorch. It’s recommended that you mix salted and unsalted butter equally as the evaporation that occurs will leave you with very salty butter if you don’t cut in unsalted with it.
  • Scrape the foamy white layer that accumulates at the top of the pot. Once you have simmered for 20 minutes, begin quickly ladling it into jars, leaving 1 inch of head space.
  • Wipe the rim of the jar well (if you’re careless here, any residue of fat will cause the seal to fail and all your efforts will have been wasted). Lid and band the jar and process in the pressure canner at 10 lbs of pressure for one hour.
  • Allow the canner to depressurize naturally and allow the jars to cool completely. Make sure all the jars are sealed before storing.

I have found a recipe for canning butter that doesn’t rely on the pressure canner. Again, I’m not saying this recipe is safe or not safe, only that it’s available. I have never personally canned butter in this manner and will probably stick with my pressure canning recipe. However, if you’re interested in having a copy, you can go to the following link and print out the instructions. https://www.endtimesreport.com/canning_butter.html

The Editor

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