I bet you have bananas on your counter right now. They are so basic, so common that they are sometimes overlooked and under-appreciated for the delicious fruits they are. And their standard cost is low enough that acquiring an abundance of bananas for great recipes and snacking is not onerous. Here are a few delicious things you can do with this unassuming sweet fruit.
Bananas are a family-friendly fruit
My family typically goes through at least a dozen bananas a week. Between breakfast (in cereal), lunch (peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches), dessert (banana splits, anyone?) and just plain snacking, they are a favorite fruit. I always make sure to eat one after exercising, because they are an excellent source of potassium. On the rare occasion we have extra bananas around, we make delicious banana-based creations.
Favorite simple recipes:
- Banana milk
Puree very ripe bananas and milk in a blender. Add some chocolate sauce, too!
- Broiled banana slices
Slice bananas in half lengthwise (leaving the peel intact). Sprinkle the cut surface with brown sugar, then place under a broiler for just a couple of minutes until the sugar caramelizes and bubbles. Allow the sugar to cool and form a hard crust, then eat out of the peel with a spoon.
More creative recipes for bananas:
Serves 6 to 8This comfort food favorite is a Southern classic.Ingredients:
2 cups whipping cream
2 (3-ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix.
2-1/2 cups AE Dairy milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
5 to 6 bananas, sliced
1 box vanilla wafersDirections:
1. Whip the cream and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix and milk, mixing well. Mix in the sweetened condensed milk. Then gently fold in about 2/3 of the whipped cream.
2. In a fairly deep serving dish, spread out about 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Layer banana slices and vanilla wafers, then another 1/3 of the pudding, another layer each of banana slices and wafers, then the final 1/3 of the pudding. Gently spread the remaining whipped cream over the top.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours to set. Serve with an extra vanilla wafer or two.
Note: Make sure you purchase instant pudding mix. I once absent-mindedly came home with the type of mix that needs cooking. I tried making the pudding anyway (without cooking). It was more like banana pudding soup (though still very tasty).
Makes 1 loafIngredients:
3 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extractDirections:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, smash bananas until they are almost liquid. Set aside. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add in the eggs and beat well.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix the sifted dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Add the mashed bananas and vanilla, and beat well. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake about 1 hour. A toothpick inserted into the bread should come out clean.
Note: You can use a mixture of flours in this bread. I sometimes make it with half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.
Serves 4I used to love watching my father make this. It’s so dramatic!Ingredients:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
Ground allspice and nutmeg to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 bananas, still slightly green, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup dark rum
Vanilla ice creamDirections:
1. In a wide skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sugar and spices, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Carefully lay in the bananas. Cook about a minute on each side. Spoon the syrup over the bananas as they cook. Remove the bananas from the pan. (You can even place them on the ice cream right now).
2. Turn off the heat. Carefully add the rum. Restore the heat to medium low. Cook for just a moment, then ignite the rum in the pan using a stick lighter. When the alcohol is cooked out after a minute or so, the flame will die on its own. Pour the sauce over the bananas and ice cream, and serve.
Note: Though I have never had a problem, common sense should prevail here. Clear the area around the stove, have good ventilation, and have a fire extinguisher handy. Kids should stay well away. (10 more tips to prevent kitchen fires)