Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Friday 15 February 2013

Remember those organic bananas...

They dried down from 22 fresh bananas to 370 g of dried bananas. The cost of the 22 fruit was £2.20 ( reduced in the Co- op)

Drying took 30 hours and used 5 kW/hrs of electricity - a total of £0.75 from our suppliers Good Energy if paid for but at least half the time our pv's were providing the electricity for the dehydrator, for free - so let us say £0.40 cost for the electricity purchased ( from Good Energy so carbon neutral) and I am being generous with this estimate!

So 370g of dried organic bananas cost me £2.80 in total to buy and dehydrate and an hour ish to prepare, and monitor ( turning regularly etc)

Looking online a bag of dried organic bananas weighing 125g costs £.1.35 (the very cheapest I could find).

So my efforts if I had bought it would have cost me £4.00, or possibly more. And actually cost me £2.60. Or possibly less.

I could have done another two trays in the dehydrator which would have bought the overall cost down even more. But I foolishly did not buy all the bananas on offer ( was worried about looking greedy - rolls eyes - will not do that again!)  If I had done so it would have reduced the overall cost even more.

Ok I have not costed my time but how long does it take to slice up some bananas, while drinking tea, eating breakfast and listening to the "Today" programme?  ( and eating a few slices :-) ) It took me about 20 mins in total to do all of this - and very enjoyable it was too.

I think I win, with this one! And at least I know EXACTLY what went into my food - which in the current times is actually very important, I think.

BUT I only managed to do this without a cost penalty, because the bananas were really discounted?

How on earth do the suppliers of dried banana chips manage - who gets less, so as to provide the discount?
I am guessing the grower?

Makes me think hard about the economics of things when I actually make them myself.


  1. It was clearly cheaper ( and I would have felt greedy taking more too!)but I believe that developing and honing skills that you then pass on to others is so important that you can't put a price on that.

  2. Oh well, sometimes economies of scale win out. Worth trying, though!

  3. I would say time well spent, just pure unadulterated bananas, not additives or extras or excess packaging.

    If you had been a meanie and bought up all the bananas you would be even more in profit, but sometimes it's good karma to let someone else grab a bargain too :-)

    Well done.

    Sue xx

  4. It always amazes me how little one ends up with. 370 gms of dried bananas from all those fresh ripe ones.

    Of course, the banana dryers would buy from producers/suppliers at a discount, just as would the people you bought them from.

  5. Sarah, Thanks for the posts. I normally freeze bananas in halves, to use in smoothies. I'm interested in alternatives, and I have a dehydrator, which I only use occasionally as I'm never sure how dry to dry.

    how dry do you dry your bananas? Do you get them really dry, like the banana chips one (used to) get from Julian Graves? Or are they still a bit sticky?

    Did you turn the slices over, or did you just rotate the trays in the dryer?



  6. Hi Hazel

    I rotate the trays one side around every couple of hours during the drying process.

    I leave some to dry until they will "snap" ( to be crushed as banana chips for toppings)

    and some come out a bit sooner when still ever so slightly sticky/tacky to touch - but they are still dry ( as that is the preserving mechanism - little moisture for the bacteria/mould to grow!)

    Does that help?

    Please comment again if not and I will try to help more.


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