Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Going Bananas

Yes, I'm going b-a-n-a-n-a-s today! and everyday for that matter...

When you have an abundance of bananas or a few that are about to go bad, don't let them go to waste. I have a couple suggestions for what you can do with them. Jim peels them and puts them in a airtight container and into the freezer. Then he makes smoothies with the frozen fruit. They are so yummy, no need for ice that can water your smoothie down.

Moving in the opposite direction is this warm and comforting Aunt Holly's Banana Bread recipe from epicurious.
I love how very short the list of ingredients are:

3 to 4 ripe bananas
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
Chocolate chips (as many as you want! Jim did not want me to add these...)

Mash the bananas in a bowl first, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix well.

I buttered this silicone bread pan (probably not necessary with the silicone pan, but butter any other metal pan you would plan to use), pour in the batter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean - about 50 minutes to an hour.

You can't beat the smells that will fill your home, it is completely warm and comforting.

This is my kind of breakfast. I like to warm in the microwave and add a smear of butter in the morning. I kept a few slices for myself and sent the rest of the loaf with Jim to take on his business trip. Next time I make this I am including chocolate chips (tossed in flour first to help them stay suspended in the batter instead of sinking to the bottom) and also I want to include walnuts! Maybe not the healthiest breakfast but it's better than nothing in the morning.

Okay, switching gears now! We've done frozen, we did warm and soft...how about hard and crunchy?

I experimented with my food dehydrator by slicing some bananas in several different ways. I tossed the cut bananas in lemon juice because I read it will help them not turn brown, but in the end I did not care for the lemon flavor I think it gave to the banana chips. Hard and crunchy there were not.

I filled the dehydrator up by using all four trays.

Set the temperature to 145 degrees and let these dry out for 8-12 hours. The timing is going to differ by what kind of dehydrator you have. I've read you can do these in the oven as well and may give that a shot next time.

I was disappointed with the way these turned out, but after doing some online research I discovered that the crunchy and crispy dehydrated bananas I find in my grocery store are actually FRIED! So I didn't feel so bad that mine were softer than I had wanted. To enhance the flavor, I mixed a little water with honey and dipped the chips into the thin mixture to sweeten them up - it was really a flop. Jim didn't eat them, so I was just left with a bunch of dog treats and banana peels. (The pups were happy) Out of curiosity I googled things to do with banana peels and found this cute list of 7 surprising ways to reuse a banana peel. ...and no, making people fall wasn't one of them.

After the banana chip flop I turned around and made another super awesome batch of beef jerky for Jim - dehydrator redeemed!

Lastly, to keep the BANANA theme going...I am ecstatic to share some exciting news about my post for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA) challenge with the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (CAFB).   My culinary creation, Pirates of the Banana Boat was selected by the nutrition education team of CAFB to be included in their CHOICES Nutrition Education class cookbook and to be featured in their Hunger Action Month promotional materials.

I really admire all the work that the CAFB is doing. They have so many great programs to educate parents, children and complete families on how to grow their own food and cook healthier. The goal of their Hunger is Unacceptable campaign is to engage the community in the fight against hunger through volunteerism, advocacy, and financial contributions.
Hunger is an expensive, preventable social problem and you can do something about it.
I urge you to find out about your local food bank and get involved. In this day and age, hunger is unacceptable and I will be darned if I'm going to sit by and watch my neighbors suffer. So yippee for all the fantastic programs that CAFB has going on!

1 comment:

  1. You certainly did go bananas! Love it all, especially the banana boat—how clever and tasty!


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