I’ve recently become very appreciative of the simple banana, a fruit I neglected for years. I don’t know what was wrong with me – there are few things nicer than a banana at the perfect stage of slight under-ripeness, with a tinge of green in the skin and firm pale yellow flesh. They’re tasty, filling and ludicrously good for you, containing loads of potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin C and fibre. A banana and a coffee has become my staple breakfast over the last year or so.
But while there are few things better than a good banana, there are few things more off-putting than an over-ripe, black banana. The texture, the colour, the horrible over-sweet flavour. Gag. But all is not lost – they are absolutely perfect for baking. The sweetness in them becomes concentrated, and because they are so mushy, they’re easy to mix into various batters.
I buy a lot of bananas now for myself and my little girl, and am frequently stuck with over-ripe ones. I’ve been trying out lots of different recipes that use bananas, somewhat undermining my healthy intentions by producing cakes and buns, but what the hell. Some of the best ones that I’ve found so far are:
- Avoca’s Banana Bread – really easy and so delicious.
- Nigella Lawson’s Banana and Butterscotch Muffins – these are really nice, and would be perfect for kids
- Rachel Allen’s Banana and Peanut Butter Muffins – also perfect for kids
I’ve also tried out a couple of healthy Banana Oat Muffin recipes, from various food sites, but have yet to find one that is worth doing a second time. If anyone has any recipes for baking with bananas, particularly healthy treats, please do share them here.
Two more things about over-ripe bananas:
I’ve heard that bananas freeze well, so if you see some bananas starting to turn spotty, you could try throwing them in your freezer and using them in smoothies at a later date. I don’t have room in my freezer, but would love to hear if it works.
My mother tells me that when she was little, her grandmother made her eat black bananas because she said they were more nutritious that way. Are there are any proper food scientists out there who know whether there’s anything to this theory? The internet, shockingly, only seems to have ill-informed speculation on the subject.