There are few things we hate more than waste. Waste results in unnecessary garbage, pollutes our environment and tends to cost money. In our home, we have learned to deal with waste in one of the following ways: we recycle, we re-use, we re-invent, we compost and we discard. By paying close attention to how we manage our waste, and by carefully making purchases which will ultimately produce the least amount of waste, we have reduced the amount of stuff that we simply throw out by a whole lot.
One of the things that we hate to simply get rid of is food. Whereas many people hate leftovers...we LOVE them...in fact, we thrive on them. It is rare that you will find us composting or throwing away food - because unless it is spoiled (and it should not get to the point where it is spoiled) there is always something to do with it. So, cheese rinds are kept in the refrigerator or freezer until they can be used to flavor soup, leftover spaghetti sauce goes through a metamorphosis, becoming a delish chili and seen-better-days-veggies are tossed together into stir-frys.
And bananas....well, bananas present their own unique challenges. Have you ever noticed that bananas can go from "just perfectly ripe" to "yikes...what the heck am I going to do with all these rotting bananas" in about 4 hours ??!! What a crazy fruit ! So, in an attempt to keep you all from tossing these nutrient rich treats into the compost heap or (yikes) the garbage bin...here are a few suggestions for your rotting bananas.
1. An over-ripe banana may be yucky to eat, but works really well in a smoothie. Try mixing a banana with some milk or soy milk, frozen yogurt and some frozen berries. Or, try making our 7 year old's favorite drink: banana milk. Put some milk in a glass, blend in a banana...ta dah...banana milk !
2. Over-ripe bananas make delicious dessert. How about some Banana's Flambé (also called Bananas Foster (we think))? Melt lots of butter and combine it with brown sugar in a sauce pan. When hot and bubbly, add some sliced up bananas and heat them through. Add a splash of cognac and, if you are feeling particularly ambitious, set a match to it....flambé ! (no worries if you are too afraid of singeing your eyebrows..the flame adds only dramatic effect and no flavor). Pour over ice-cream or pound cake or both. YUM !
3. Bake a banana bread. Here is the most fantastic banana bread recipe ever, adapted from the Jewish General Hospital's cookbook called Panache. Not only is it delicious, it makes plenty. There is enough batter to fill a loaf pan and a bundt pan (or three loaf pans). Freeze what you won't consume immediately or share with your friends. And, speaking of freezing...if you find yourself with lots of very ripe bananas but no time to use them before they are no longer usable...pop them into the freezer. Just thaw them on the counter when you are ready to bake with them...we are convinced this makes them even sweeter. Keep in mind that freezing them may make the skin and flesh turn a bizarre dark brown / black color...this is normal :)
BEST BANANA BREAD EVER RECIPE (our version)
It takes about 20 minutes to whip this together, and another hour to bake.
2 cups whole wheat or whole grain flour
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 1/3 cups sugar (we use a mix of brown and white sugar)
1 cup vegetable oil
8 very ripe bananas (we know, we know...that's a lot of bananas !)
1/4 cup sour cream or applesauce or plain yogourt
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Whisk together to blend well the flours, cinnamon, and salt.
In another bowl beat the eggs, sugar, and oil.
To the egg mixture, slowly mix in the flour mixture. Once combined, mix in the bananas. Then, add and mix in the remaining ingredients.
Pour into 3 loaf pans or 1 loaf pan and a bundt pan (greased and lined with parchment pan). Bake in the middle of oven for about an hour (or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean).
Could this be any easier ???!!!!