The steps and equipment used in the smoking of bananas for a dessert

Smoking Bananas

 

BANANA’S ULTIMATE SMOKY CREAMY GOODNESS!

Banana’s peak season is from January thru April but you can enjoy this fruit anytime of the year!  Although you’ve likely enjoyed most of your bananas raw, they are one fruit that works exceptionally well in all types of recipes, from breads, puddings, smoothies, cookies, and muffins, their sweet undertone makes them ideal as a dessert item.  With a light, creamy flavor you’ll find bananas are compatible with so many other ingredients like dark and white chocolate, coconut, blueberries, caramel, ginger, honey, sugar, vanilla, and many nuts.  The best part, is they work in recipes whether ripe, under ripe, or overripe!  The level of ripeness determines what you do with it.

In this series, we’re going to use the Gourmia® hand held food smoker with Piccolo® Chips in Size 8 from SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products to get the perfect level of smoke using this quick, easy method.  No spending hours over a traditional smoker and taking the risk of your bananas turning to mush!  Get ready for a new flavor to your traditional banana for drinks, breakfast items, and desserts.

MATERIALS:

I’ll be using the Gourmia® hand held food smoker for this series, but any similar unit will work fine.  In addition, you will need a cookie sheet, a food storage bag large enough to go over the cookie sheet or you can use plastic wrap, bananas – any variety will do, SmokinLicious® Minuto® Chips in either size #6, #8 or #10, and a lighter or kitchen torch.  When selecting your bananas, look for evenly colored yellow bananas flecked with tiny brown specks which indicates ripeness. Avoid those with any visible blemishes as that usually indicates the fruit is bruised.

Be sure you are doing the smoking process in a well ventilated area or even outside.  Kitchen hoods work great!

 PREPARING THE HAND HELD SMOKER:

Gourmia® Hand-held Smoker

Gourmia® Hand-held Smoker

A good rule of thumb prior to starting your smoking process is to be sure everything is in working order.  Check the batteries of your hand held food smoker and the butane level of your lighter. You’ll also need a few tablespoons of SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products Minuto® Wood Chips available. I’m going to use Cherry today to keep the fruit flavoring marriage.

Attach the smoking tube to the hand held unit and have a lighter at the  ready.  It is important not to over stuff the bowl of the hand held smoker with chips as a little goes a long way. Now, place the Minuto® wood chips in the bowl of the unit being sure not to stuff.  Remember, once lit, these hand held units produce a lot of smoke vapor quickly so everything needs to be set up well.

PREPARING THE BANANAS:

Cutting and removing the peel to prep the bananas

Removing the peel

I have a preference for using  a small sheet pan or cookie sheet when I cold smoke fruits.  It makes it very easy to expose the fruit to the smoke vapor without the need to rotate the food.  As I want to get good wood flavor to the bananas, I am peeling them and cutting them in 2 inch pieces as the recipe I plan to use them in will require smaller segments. I then placed the cut pieces on the sheet pan, and then secure a food storage bag or plastic wrap over the pan.  Be sure you are able to draw in the end of the bag as if you’re going to tie it off with a twist tie.  The ability to cinch off the bag is what will ensure that the smoke vapor produced is trapped within the food bag and infuses each piece. If using plastic wrap, leave one end loose so you can insert the smoking tube. The length of time you leave the smoke vapor in the bag or under the plastic wrap will determine the strength of the flavor.  I plan to incorporate dark chocolate, coconut and nuts with my smoked banana so I will be filling the bag with smoke vapor and allowing it to dissipate on its own.  Remember, you have control of when you release the smoke so timing is up to you!

 

 

 

Smoking the bananas with the Gourmia Mini Smoker

Smoking the Bananas with the Gourmia® Mini Smoker

SMOKING PROCESS

 

My Gourmia® hand held food smoker is assembled and filled with Wild Cherry Minuto® wood chips in Size #8 from SmokinLicious®.  I now position the smoking tubing within the sealed bag or under the plastic wrap if you are using that, and cinch the excess around the tube to prevent any smoke from exiting while the unit is on.  I turn on the hand held smoker and lite the Minuto® wood chips.  Once I have enough smoke into the bag, I will shut the unit off, remove the tubing, and seal the bag using a cable tie or tighten the wrap around the sheet pan.  Can it get any easier than that?  This will let you see just how long smoke vapor can last in a contained area.

 

 

THE SMOKY FINISH:

As I see the bag start to clear of the smoke vapor, it’s time to release the cable tie and be ready to remove my smoked banana slices for my recipe. So, what do you do with smoked banana?   What can you think of?  Essentially any recipe that calls for banana can be considered for smoked banana. I’ll get you started with our upcoming series on Smoked Banana Double Bites that you’ll fall in love with.  Oh, don’t forget, smoked bananas freeze exceptionally well so put some away for those days when you want something made with the sweet, creaminess of banana and you’ll have a great start.

Bon Appetitó!

The finish- Smoked Bananas

The finish- Smoked Bananas

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Smoke

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CRUSHED OR DICED WOOD CHIPS?

The Difference Between Crushed and Diced Wood Chips

You see the options all the time.  Crushed or diced tomatoes?  Every chef knows when and why you choose one over the other. Did you know the same concept is true for wood chips?

At SmokinLicious®, the only true cooking wood Company, we produce our wood chips in the same manner as tomato processors! We crush the wood for our Grande Sapore® chips – these pieces produce a unique flavor because of their shape just like crushed tomatoes give a deeper flavor to recipes!  These chips are meant to last and work with other ingredients for full flavor balance. We also offer our “diced” option of predetermined wood slices to produce our Minuto® and Piccolo® chips for smoldering on heat plates, cast iron, and flavor bars.  Just as diced tomatoes give a fresh-from-the-garden taste, diced wood chips likewise produce a different, often more intense fresh wood flavoring.

SmokinLicious® only manufacturers cooking woods.  That is our primary and only business.  We know hardwoods for cooking, all types of wood-fired methods.  And we know wood flavoring – how to get the best clean flavors from the select hardwoods ideal for cooking!

See for yourself why we are a superior product with a superior outcome.  Enjoy the benefits of the knowledge of our flavorists and get the options you are looking for.  Made the SmokinLicious® way!

Dr. Smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

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smoke vapor from the grill

Smoke vapor from the grill

Tap for audio

Tap for audio

SMOKING (FOOD THAT IS!) DOESN’T MAKE IT ALL BAD!

Recently, I received a very interesting question regarding the safety of ingesting foods and beverages that have been exposed to smoke vapor using hand held food smokers.  Specifically, the question consisted of whether you need to be 18 years of age for items that have been infused with smoke using these gadgets.

This got me thinking:

  • does the word “smoke” automatically give off the bad vibe response?
  • why do people only inquire about the smoke without needing to know more about the plant source that produces that smoke?

There is a lot of data out there on carcinogenic affect to high heat grilled foods like burgers, chicken, and steaks, even data on hot smoking foods at lower temperatures.  Really, what it all boils down to is, if you grill meats to the point where you blacken them, that increases the risk for the carcinogens.  Even if you cook to the blacken state, eating these foods in moderation will halt any real risk over an average person’s lifetime.

So why the question on legality to consume smoked foods and beverages?

 If you understand that the tobacco industry had to start putting warning labels on tobacco packaging back in 1966, and smokeless tobacco products in 2010, then you comprehend that smoke vapor does contain toxins (http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/Labeling/default.htm ).  Everything regarding level of toxicity with cooking is related to type of food, method of cooking, cooking temperature, and length of cooking time ( https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cooked-meats-fact-sheet ).

Let’s examine those parameters from the hand held food smoking perspective.

You are not cooking the food by this method, merely infusing it with the smoke flavonoids, so there is no temperature (cold smoking technique).  You are not exposing the food to smoke vapor for hours – it really comes down to minutes.  Most importantly, you are not directly attempting to inhale the smoke vapor into your lungs.  Yes, if your standing near the container that is holding the cold smoke when you open it, you will have some exposure but not like the person that takes a drag directly from a tobacco product or is chewing on a tobacco product!

Like anything else in our world, there are risks to everything we do, experience, sense, taste, explore, desire.  Hot smoking is another name for roasting just at a lower temperature and usually with cheaper cuts of meat.

What should never be compromised is the plant material – the wood – that is used to extract these flavors.

Really, I believe it is time to start asking more questions about the hardwood products (don’t even start me on softwoods and waste wood http://www.smokinlicious.com/blog/?p=244 !) being used for the smoking process rather than focusing on the process itself.  Perhaps the risks associated with dirty, moldy, contaminated wood are too high to ignore anymore.

Dr. Smoke

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