I’m sure I now have you all on the edge of your seat, breathlessly awaiting an in-depth study about how bananas are grown and harvested, but that is not the topic of this post. (Sorry.) Neither will I discuss what happens after you ingest bananas…..(no further comments necessary!).
Today’s post is just about the life cycle of a banana at my house. Or more specifically, what on earth do I do with bananas that could be interesting enough to write an entire post about them on Simply Flourishing Home???
Let me start with the fact that I know this will be a boring post for some of you experienced bakers, smoothie-makers and banana-keepers.
***But one thing I realized before I began blogging is that many times it’s that “obvious” tip to us that someone else just needs to hear. I have lived for almost fifty years, and cooked and baked for over twenty-five married years, and I’m still learning some great hacks and tips for all areas of my life.
***So at the risk of boring you or causing you to feel I’m insulting your intelligence, I have decided to sometimes share a simple tip or idea, for those of you who for whatever reason, find yourselves “out of the loop”. I would, of course, also welcome any tips and tricks for home-making that my readers would be willing to share in the comments. Share the wealth!
So back to bananas.
Bananas are a healthy, convenient, economical, portable fruit. I try to keep them on hand at all times for a quick, easy morning serving of fruit. They are also invaluable for baking and smoothies!
Let’s talk about banana nutrition.
I won’t go into great depth here (as I am not a nutritionist nor a banana expert), but suffice it to say that a bananas possess a whole slew of health benefits. They are naturally fat and cholesterol-free, provide a high dose of potassium (which is beneficial to your heart, muscles, nerves and kidneys, and can help lower blood pressure). They also contain a healthy dose of vitamin C, vitamin B-6, manganese and fiber, and aide in the digestive process.
In case that’s not enough for you, this interesting article discusses 25 Powerful Reasons to Eat Bananas, and claims several additional health benefits, many of which I had never even heard before today.
In our family, bananas are consumed several times per week as is, but we also depend on them for moist, delicious baked goods and to thicken and sweeten our healthy smoothies.
So what’s the best way to be sure to have bananas on hand at all times in case the urge strikes to bake fresh banana bread or create a delicious smoothie?
Stock up on bananas whenever you have a chance. Thankfully, they are one of the cheaper foods to begin with, but if you happen to catch a sale, find some on the reduced-produce rack at your store, or “adopt” them from someone who for some reason has extras, then go for it! (I used to gratefully receive bunches on occasion from the school cafeteria where I worked, before vacation days when they would be sure to spoil if left.) I often buy an extra bunch on purpose to keep my freezer-stock supplied.
Just a side note here. I have tried (I thought with some success), that trick of wrapping the banana stems in foil to retard the ripening process. Although I had come across some reason to believe it is effective, I now realize through a little research that most people believe it makes no difference if you wrap the stems in foil or plastic wrap, or separate the bananas. I looked at several write-ups and videos, and in the end, I can’t find anything scientific to back up the idea that any of these methods actually makes a difference.
So if you notice any foil on my bunch of bananas in the photo, just ignore it. Until I conduct an actual experiment myself (which I will surely share here), I will refrain from further wasting foil on my banana stems.
So just what do you do when you just have too many bananas, or they are too ripe for your taste to eat?
Most of you who care anything about baking know that bananas can be stored in the freezer until you need them for baking. For years, though, I threw the entire banana in, peel and all. This works, but when you take it out of the freezer and let it thaw, you now have to remove the blackened peel and are left with a soggy, slimy, mess. It still works and tastes fine in a recipe, but it leaves something to be desired in appearance and texture (in other words, it’s gross!)
One day, my life was forever changed when I made an important discovery; not to the whole world perhaps, but to this avid baker. I don’t even remember where I learned this idea, but it is to simply peel the banana BEFORE you freeze it.
Yes, that’s it.
Some of you are probably saying, “Duh. Of course you peel them first. This is a waste of my time.”, (to which I will refer you back to the above starred paragraphs), but I will share it here in case you, like me, need someone to tell you.
Now I simply peel and break each ripe banana into quarters or thirds and throw them into a freezer bag. This way, they can be easily taken out to thaw before baking, or warmed slightly in the microwave to soften if you are in a hurry.
Also, this method works great for thickening and sweetening smoothies! Simply place as many frozen banana chunks as desired into your blender (or fancy smoothie-maker, if you have one), along with your smoothie ingredients and life is good.
So that’s it, folks! The life cycle of a banana in my house.
Stay tuned to find out about two of my favorite related baking tips that I plan to share soon. One has something to do with pumpkins, and the second is about muffin dough. I can’t wait to share them with you!
Now, I think I’ll go and make some banana muffins.
Do you love to bake with bananas or add them to smoothies? Have you ever tried freezing them? Are you willing to admit that you also wrap your banana stems in foil???