Bananas are one of the most amazing fruits in nature. They’re enclosed in their own tight, impermeable protective skin that requires nothing but your bare hands to peel off and can be eaten out of. Bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrate and potassium. Their color changes to let you know their stage of ripeness, and if you miss the best time to eat them and they turn spotty, you’ll have a fantastic ingredient for baking.
Bananas are in the botanical class of berries and they grow in a variety of trees in the genus Musa and are available all year. Green bananas are on the hard side and a bit tart, as the carbohydrate has not fully developed into sugar; they're best cooked. As bananas ripen they become sweeter and softer; most people prefer to eat them while they’re still at the “green-tip” stage, a little firm with a sweet creamy taste.
1 medium banana (about 7” long) provides 105 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 1 mg sodium, 422 mg potassium, 27 grams carbohydrate, 1.3 grams protein
What else about bananas?
... increase and sustain blood sugar level
... are high in tryptophan, known to help against depression
... provide a satisfying low sodium, high potassium food to help your blood pressure
... reduce swelling and calcium loss during urination, provide a sense of satiety and satisfy sweets cravings helping to control weight
... increase Vitamin B-6 in the diet helping in the production of white blood cells
... improve digestion with the rich pectins, increase good bacteria in the gut and help with bowel regulation, as well as act as a natural anti-acid
... the inside of its peel is good for relieving itchiness from bug bites, and some people have been known to even use it for leather polishHow about making some sweet banana treats?
Today I'm sharing with you one of my favorite and most unexpected banana treats. A cooked banana pudding pie. It's so easy that after the first bite, it will become your favorite too. Like most puddings, it's good cold or warm.
Approximate Time: 1 hour preparation time, 2 hours cooling time
5 (2#) medium bananas, unpeeled
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, cold
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon butter, soft but not melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups whipped cream, divided (1 cup whipping cream yields 3 cups)
45 vanilla wafers
1.Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.Cut a 1” slit lengthwise on top of each banana and place side by side bananas on a flat sheet pan. Cover the top with parchment paper to prevent scorching.
3.Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes; do not turn off the oven yet.
4.Remove 3 bananas and cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
5.In the meantime, continue baking the 2 bananas remaining in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. While still warm, carefully peel and place the 2 bananas in a small bowl, mash with a fork to remove all the lumps.
6.Combine milk and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer to dissolve sugar (do not boil).
7.Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk.
8.Temper the egg mixture by gradually adding about ¼ cup of the hot egg, sugar and cornstarch mixture to the milk and sugar, stirring constantly with a whisk. Immediately return the tempered milk mixture to egg, sugar and cornstarch pan.
9.Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 3 minutes), stirring constantly. Be careful not to scorch.
10.Remove from heat. Add the mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla and mix well, then stir until the butter melts.
11.Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until mixture reaches room temperature, stirring occasionally. Fold half of whipped topping into pudding.
12.Spread 1 cup custard evenly over the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Top with half the vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices.
13.Spoon half of remaining custard over bananas. Repeat procedure with the remaining wafers, banana slices, and custard.
14.Spread remaining half of whipped topping evenly over top. Garnish with additional banana slices, any other fruit of choice, or additional crushed vanilla wafers
Why not try these variations?
- Like chocolate? Shave bitter-sweet dark chocolate over the top
- Like peanut butter? Melt peanut butter over low heat, thin with milk or whipping cream if needed, and drizzle over the top
- Strawberries anyone? Thinly slice strawberries and place 3 slices on each portion
- Can’t wait to eat it? Try it warm, it’s delicious too
- Are you counting calories? Use low fat 2% milk and substitute the whipped cream for 1 (12 ounce) container thawed frozen fat-free whipped topping