Posted by Abu Abdurahman | No Comments yet
When I was growing up my mom always involved me in the Kitchen. At first it was just helping to stir the mixes either of cookies or brownies. Eventually this led to sit downs with my mom, where we would search through cookbooks looking for new recipes to add to our weekly menu. AsI grew older my parents would often not return home until after midnight and it presented me with the option of cook or go to bed hungry.
Even though my early home education was through observation with little involvement above licking the bowl at the end of the exercise, it still left a lasting impact in not only my memory, but my familiarization with the kitchen as well as my present love for cooking. I believe that being able to cook is not just something that “the women” should know how to do, but is a very praiseworthy trait to find in a man that he can take care of himself quite proficiently if need be. For this reason I like to involve my kids in the kitchen as much as possible so that even their passive observation, and sometimes active assistance, will be a stepping stone for their culinary education, and a step closer to independence and self-sufficiency.
Just the other day we had another one of these lessons and it was in making banana chips. Banana chips are basically dehydrated bananas, and a means of preserving a food that would otherwise be perishable. Although today we mostly rely on our refrigerators, they were completely unknown to our ancestors, and they got along just fine without them. They would use many alternative methods to preserving their food stuffs from canning, root cellars, dehydrating, or smoking. Our modern day alternatives have mainly degenerated the quality of our food, and waste massive amounts of energy while we try to keep our lemonade cool. Although these practices have been forgotten by many, they are still very useful, and may someday become a necessity. Having our children understand these processes of preservation and the ones that came to replace them is very important. It’s not just about being self-sufficient but it’s also about being healthy, and one of the ways we can preserve our health is by eating good food absent of chemicals that we cannot pronounce.
So for our first lesson we looked around for some tips and this is what we came up with.
1. First we filled a bowl with lemon juice. This was supposed to help preserve the color. I also assume it aids in the preservation process.
2. We cut the bananas
3. We soaked the bananas in the lemon juice for 10 min
4. Then we place the bananas on a cooking sheet
5. Finally we place the cooking sheets into the preheated oven with the door open at least 4 inches at 60C
As for the time needed to finish it may take several hours (anywhere from eight hours or more so don’t be surprised), but really as with most of my cooking I just do it to eye. If it looks good it’s done.
Not bad for a first try but I will say the lemon taste was a bit overpowering, also our bananas came out a little too brown because two little guys closed the oven door a couple of times so I may try next time to dilute taste, or use anther acidic fruit like oranges. Also we noticed that the banana slices need to be pretty thick and uniform as they shrink quite a bit in the oven and the ones that were cut too thin were quite hard to get off of the cooking sheet. In the future I would like to try and create a dehydrator or utilize direct sunlight, but presently we live in the inner city where we are affected by air pollution. Lastly to reinforce the lesson what I will do is take a ripe banana and peel it with the boys and leave it out for a day under the sun, along with one of the banana chips and allow them to see how each one is affected and which one they think is still edible.
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