Banana Roadkill

3 10 2010

It was puke-yellow and kind of squishy, and it looked like someone had scraped it off the road with a spatula after some horrible accident.

But the package said “bananas”…in fact, bananas were the only ingredient listed. Bananas aren’t gross at all. Granted, I like apples and grapes a little better, but bananas are still a yummy fruit. The “dried fruit” part didn’t make me turn away, either — after all, banana chips make delicious snacks.

“Flattened,” though? That’s a little strange. What’s the point of flattening bananas?

I was intrigued.

In fact, I was so intrigued that before I even opened the package, I decided to try a little experiment. I cut a banana in three pieces and plopped it into a plastic bag. Originally I wanted to run it over with my car to get the full effect, but since I saw a future full of cleaning banana purée off the driveway if I went with that option, I opted for a rolling pin instead.

Then I put the bag out in the sun for a few hours.

Observe:

No, I didn’t eat that.  Are you kidding me?  Even I have my limits.

I did, however, eat the store-bought equivalent.  While the results of my experiment had me a little iffy about my purchase (not to mention a little queasy), I figured the process the dried, flattened bananas went through was slightly different from my smash-and-leave-in-the-sun method.

(In fact, it turns out that dehydration is the process generally used to dry bananas — which makes sense, because from my experience, leaving them in the sun just rots them.)

When I opened the package, a very pungent banana smell assaulted my nostrils — kind of like when I’m baking banana bread and open the oven, only without all the added sweetness.

I expected the bananas to be a lot more dry than they were.  I went to pull one out, and I ended up with the entire chunk of sticky, gooey bananas in my hand.  (They’re a lot stickier and gooier than they look.  I think “dried” is a bit of an exaggeration.)

Using more than a little force, I ripped off a chunk.  I closed my eyes and put it in my mouth.

(I don’t know why I close my eyes when I’m about to eat something weird.  It’s not like it changes the flavor.)

Speaking of flavor…the taste of just that small piece of banana essentially exploded in my mouth.  All I could taste was banana. Ordinarily, this would be fine — but it wasn’t a very fruity banana.  It tasted old. Overripe.  And very, very strong.

I’m ashamed to say I never even swallowed it.  I tried, and my gag reflex wouldn’t let that gooey, sticky chunk past my throat.  So I spit it out.

Let me set one thing straight here.  Dried fruit is a great thing.  It makes a wonderful snack, and it lasts forever (or a year — close enough).

But these dried, flattened bananas were just not that appetizing.  Plain and simple.

Maybe it was the texture — and if it was, I can blame the whole experience on my texture issues and safely say that most people will probably like this.  But I don’t think it was just that.

The taste was overpowering.  The difference between this and banana chips is that banana chips have a much more subtle flavor in comparison.

(Then again, even wasabi has a subtle flavor in comparison to this. It was intense.)

The bottom line is, if you’re a huge banana fan who likes chewy food that tastes very strongly of overripe bananas, you’ll love this.  If you’re like me and prefer something a little more crunchy and lighter flavored, stick with banana chips.  Either way, you’ll have a healthful snack that will last forever …about a year.

———-

Ingredients: Bananas.
Price:
$1.29 at Trader Joe’s
Pros: Decent price; healthful snack; great if you really love bananas.
Cons: Sticky and kind of messy; tough, chewy texture; strong flavor.

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4 responses

3 10 2010
Electromikey

See, I really like this version of banana–my family usually has a package in the cupboard at all times. The trick is to kinda rip at a big piece with your teeth, sort of like eating a big thing of taffy.

On a side note, should I be alarmed that I make about half of your blog a regular part of my diet? 😛

6 10 2010
Julia Tylor

I think you’re probably just much less picky than I am. 😉 I like to think I’ve broadened my horizons over the years — and it’s true that I’ve come a long way since I wouldn’t eat macaroni with cheese because I hated cheese — but I’m probably not as tolerant of food as I could be. So hey, I’m glad somebody likes this! Maybe if I think of it as taffy (while closing my eyes) I can give it another go.

5 10 2010
Jen Loren

Hey Julia, former writing student mine! Cool blog! And you convinced me: I no flattened bananas need pass my lips. I will not add them to my list of Trader Joe’s essentials (of which there are many, although even banana chips don’t make it, either!)

Kudos to you for using your God-given talent to save the world from sticky, overripe eating experiences!

6 10 2010
Julia Tylor

Thanks; I’m glad you like the blog! I’ve always thought of you as the teacher who first introduced me to journalism, and since I started this blog as a journalism project, you were the indirect cause of it. 😉

I’ve heard mixed reactions about the dried banana from people who read my blog (most of whom are in my class) — some of them thought it sounded awful, some had tried it and hated it, and others said they love it. So if you decide you want to try it, don’t let me stop you! It’s just definitely not a personal favorite.

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