Bananas: A Bunch of Good Stuff

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How did many fruits and vegetables come to be compared to anatomical parts? Who knows? It’s a mystery. For vegetables, it’s a head of lettuce. And you can buy an ear of corn and see eyes in potatoes.
But perhaps the best body part description was left for a fruit, namely a hand and finger of bananas.
It fits.

Personally, I love bananas, including banana bread and banana cake. They’re delicious in puddings and muffins, on cereal, and of course, just on their own.

Another thing bananas have going for them is the fact that they’re also great partners with SO many other foods and ingredients, including:

  • Chocolate
  • Peanut butter
  • Vanilla anything
  • Rum
  • Caramel
  • Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg

We have recipes on our website that use bananas, including my Buttery Rum Sauce and our Tropical Pineapple Salad with Bananas and Toasted Coconut.

But here are a few NEW ideas that I think your family might really enjoy. They’ve been a HUGE hit when I’ve made them for impromptu gatherings.

Banana & Peanut Butter Crescent Roll-Ups

This is an easy peasy recipe that uses the crescent roll dough you can buy in the dairy aisle (the kind in the tube).
Just cut a 1 ½” piece of ripe banana, smear it with a teaspoon of peanut butter (smooth or chunky) and place it on the wide end of the triangular crescent dough.
Roll it forward (don’t worry about sealing the ends). Brush the tops of the roll-ups with egg wash (1 egg beaten with ¼ cup milk or water will do). Then generously sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar and bake per directions on the package for the crescent rolls. By the way, you can also drizzle honey on them after baking!! Yum!

The Simplest 1 Loaf Banana Bread with Variations

Makes one 9” x 4” loaf

Using RIPE Bananas is SO important; I can’t overemphasize it! Not only is it a flavor thing, but more importantly, the acid that develops in riper bananas is needed to create the leavening when it reacts to the baking soda.

I like to add nuts and other things to my bread, but they are not essential to the results of this simple recipe.

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour, Sifted
1 tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Salt
½ Cup Salted Butter, Softened
3/4 Cup Light-Brown Sugar
2 Extra-Large Eggs, Beaten
2 1/3 Cups Bananas, VERY Ripe and Mashed

Optional 2/3 Cup Walnut Pieces
½ Cup Raisins
¼ Cup Sun-Dried Cherries or Cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease or spray a 9” x 4” inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.
  4. Carefully stir in any additional garnish.
  5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for about one hour or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave in the loaf pan for about 15 minutes. Then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
  8. You can store this bread, wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, in your refrigerator for a week.

Did you know?

  • Bananas actually grow in long segments (3) within their peel? No kidding? Check it out!
  • Grown in at least 107 countries, they’re the 4th leading world food crop after rice, wheat and corn (in financial value).
  • All export bananas (likely every banana you’ve EVER eaten) are picked green and ripened in special rooms of ethylene gas before being delivered to your grocery store. Without this gas, a green-picked banana will never fully ripen before it rots.
  • A quick way to ripen a store-bought banana is to place it in a paper bag to trap its own ethylene gases and speed ripening. Adding a tomato or apple to the bag helps even more!
  • Banana leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. They’re often used as plates in South Asia and several Southeast Asian countries.
  • Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between bananas and plantains. Especially in the Americas and Europe, banana usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. By contrast, Musa cultivars, with firmer, starchier fruit, are called plantains.
  • Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin, steamed with rice and wrapped in banana leaves. They’re made into jam, pancakes, sun-dried chips, banana flour, juices and smoothies, and fritters. Of course, they’re also tasty just on their own.
  • Plantains are used in various stews and curries or cooked, baked or mashed in much the same way as potatoes.
  • You shouldn’t store bananas in the refrigerator. They will turn black and decay from the inside out.
  • Lastly, bananas are SO good for you that listing all of their healthful benefits would be very time-consuming. Trust me, a banana a day keeps the doctor away might have been the doctors’ 1st choice.