Thursday, July 7, 2011

Freeze-Dried Bananas

Today's post is product review of THRIVE's Freeze Dried Bananas Slices, (not to be confused with the dehydrated banana chips that they sell as well) .

Price: A #10 can of FD Banana slices will currently cost you $24.49 if you buy it through me. And with a Net Wt of 19.2 oz, that comes out to be $1.27 per ounce. Honeyville (another food storage company) is selling their #10 can of FD Bananas for $26.49 and only giving you 12oz. That's $2.20 per ounce. So THRIVE FD Bananas are almost $1.00 cheaper per ounce. If you're looking to try them for yourself before buying a big #10 can, this wonderful product also comes in Pantry can size (about 5oz) as well as Mylar Pouch (about 2.25oz).

Shelf Life: Because it is freeze dried, and not merely dehydrated, this awesome fruit addition to your home store will last for up to 25 years on the shelf, unopened, in its #10 or Pantry sized can. And if you do open the can to start snacking on it, you'll have two years to finish off the can as long as you use the provided plastic lid to seal between uses and keep it on your shelf away from heat and moisture. This product will last OPENED on your shelves as long as regular canned fruit will last in their cans unopened.

FD Appearance: Here's what three of the banana slices look like in Freeze-Dried form.

These are three of the bigger pieces from my can. These bigger pieces each measure appx. 3/8"- 1/4" in thickness and 1" in diameter. There are a number broken pieces in the can, as well as a small amount of powder, but those smaller pieces are just as easy, nutritious and yummy to snack on, and the powder would be wonderful in a smoothie.

FD Taste: Let the record show that my husband, who normally enjoys bananas, does not like these at all. He is, however, the only person I know who doesn't. Every party I go to, every friend or family member that samples them, they all love them. They are airy, crunchy and full of banana flavor. Kids especially seem to like them. Everyone else likes them so much, in fact, that my husband was bewildered and asked to try them again. He still doesn't like them and thinks the rest of the world is crazy, but since it seems to be 1 vs the rest of the world, we'll let the numbers determine who's really crazy here. :-)

Reconstituting: I placed a handful of FD Bananas in a dish, added some cold water, and let them sit for 10-15 minutes to reconstitute. Here's what it looked like after I drained the excess water.
These do not reconstitute back into firm, pale yellow banana slices. But since THRIVE foods are picked at the peak of ripening, and since I soaked mine in water to rehydrate them, I really wasn't surprised that what I got was more a slimy, very ripe colored collection of banana pieces. It reminded me of when I mash up ripe bananas to make banana bread. The wet texture wasn't appealing to eat plain (to me personally), but it would go beautifully in banana bread, muffins, pancakes, oatmeal, smoothies, etc. They did in fact go into the smoothie we had last night (which my husband says was pretty good).  There might be other methods of reconstituting that give a different result, and I will research those eventually. But if you plan to soak them in cold water, expect a result similar to the one above.

Summary: I think this product is a great way to add some variety to your food storage. You can't really get canned bananas at the store, and a lot of the banana chips you can buy are dehydrated and then covered in honey, adding lots of extra sugar and calories you don't need. These freeze-dried pieces have no added preservatives, and have the same nutritional value as their fresh counterparts. They are a no-mess, yummy snack my toddler loves to eat, and I love the convenience of them (and their super long shelf life). They make a great snack straight from the can, or reconstituted, they would go wonderfully in all kinds of baked goods, oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, etc. If you like bananas, make sure you add a can of THRIVE Freeze-Dried Banana slices to your home store today.

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