Old Bananas? Make Banana Bread!

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the country. They contain Vitamins B6 and C, manganese and potassium. Also, they have been linked to cancer prevention and maintaining electrolyte balance. In some parts of the world, they are used to treat jaundice and kidney stones. And, of course, they taste good.

Bananas are part of a family of flowering herbs that include ginger, cardamom, turmeric and arrowroot. A related, similar plant is the plantain, which is firmer and starchier than the typical Cavendish variety we see in the grocery store. The plant is often seen as a tree, but it’s really a tall collection of stalks called pseudostems. Originally, bananas are from tropical Southeast Asia, but have spread all around the world in tropical and semi-tropical climates. In some places, they are the principle starch in peoples’ diets. In addition to being eaten, bananas are also used to produce fiber for cloth, wine and as decorations.

Bananas are one of the few fruits that actually continue to ripen after being picked. Green bananas are used for cooking, while the riper yellow ones are just eaten. They are also slightly radioactive because of their high potassium content. When buying bananas, try to buy ones that are only slightly green near the stem end. If they’re too green, they will go from green to ripe to over ripe in just a day or two.

But if you have over ripe bananas that are getting a little too soft, rejoice! For you now have the perfect bananas for making delicious banana bread. And you needn’t worry about it being too sweet or too fattening.

Here’s a simple, easy version.

Equipment: a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, a mixing bowl, a blender or food processor or a potato masher, cooking spray for baking, spoon or whisk and a toothpick or tester.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or low fat milk.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup sugar or 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup artificial sweetener
  • 2 very ripe bananas cut into small slices
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease the loaf pan.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the milk, eggs, oil (or applesauce), sugar/sweetener and banana pieces. Blend until smooth. Or you can use a potato masher in a mixing bowl to mash up the bananas, then use a whisk to blend in the other wet ingredients. (Remember, in baking, sugar is a wet ingredient.)
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the banana mixture and nuts until all ingredients are well mixed. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick/tester comes out clean when inserted into the center. Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

In my house, this lasts only a couple days. But it almost makes you look forward to over ripe bananas.

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