June 19, 2024

Article content

April 20 is a day of great celebration – it’s National Banana Day! So go ahead and peel yourself a fruit that’s chock-full of nutrition and flavour, not to mention a runner’s best friend and a wonderful treat to enjoy before bedtime for a good night’s rest.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Fabulous on its own, it’s a food perfect in all sorts delightful dishes.

Article content

Bananas have become particularly popular – thanks to the pandemic: “From their position as a breakfast and brown bag lunch staple to the banana bread-baking revolution that happened during COVID-19, bananas are enjoyed by 90% of North Americans – making them the most popular produce and one of the most-purchased items in the supermarket,” said registered dietitian Melanie Marcus, Dole’s nutrition and health communications manager, in a recent media release.

According to the Harvard Medical School, bananas (which are technically a berry) are a great source of Vitamin B6, fibre, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and manganese. A medium ripe banana has about 110 calories, with 28 grams of carbs, 15 grams of naturally occurring sugar and 3 grams of fibre.

Advertisement 3

Article content

Marcus says “many of those who experienced heightened stress during the past two years discovered the banana’s comforting familiarity and ability to improve mood and relieve anxiety…bananas contain vitamin B6, which is involved in the creation of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, and research suggests that they can also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress levels,” wrote Marcus in a recent release.

Another study found that foods like bananas that contain pre-biotics may also promote more restful sleep.

According to daysoftheyear.com, “bananas are believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, mainly in India. They made their way west by Arab conquerors in 327 BC, and eventually ended up in Europe.” By the 1870s, bananas made their way to the Caribbean with missionaries, and, as they became more affordable and less exotic, their popularity in the West grew throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Advertisement 4

Article content

The banana split was invented back in 1904 by one David Evans Strickler, an apprentice pharmacist in a local Pennsylvania pharmacy where – like most pharmacies of that time – had a soda fountain in the store. It’s popularity spread like proverbial wildfire.

As for the ubiquitous banana bread, research shows it was most likely first developed in the mid-1930s during the time of major economic hardship when no food went to waste – and many a resourceful home cook incorporated over-ripe bananas into a delicious family treat.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

How to pick the right banana?

Choose bananas according to the peel colour and ripeness desired. Select full-yellow bananas for salads or immediate eating. Use fully ripe bananas, with speckles on the peel for baking, smoothies or recipes that specify mashed bananas. – Dole.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Banana Coconut Soup (Dole)
Banana Coconut Soup (Dole) Photo by supplied /Dole

Banana Coconut Soup

Recipe courtesy of Dole (dole.com/en.) Makes 4 servings.

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1 large banana, sliced, divided

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

3/4 cup lite coconut milk

2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce

1/2 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 lime sliced or quartered

1 large fresh red chili sliced diagonally

Fresh cilantro for garnish

Saute green onions and garlic in oil in medium saucepan until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 to 8 minutes. Cool slightly. Pour into blender or food processor container. Add 3/4 banana sliced and red chili. Cover; blend until smooth.

Advertisement 6

Article content

Return soup mixture to saucepan; add remaining 1/4 banana sliced and chile; heat through. Garnish each serving with lime and cilantro, if desired.

Banana Bread (Redpath Sugar)
Banana Bread (Redpath Sugar) Photo by supplied /Redpath Sugar

Banana Bread

If there is one recipe that defines a decade, it would have to be banana bread. Recipe courtesy of Redpath Sugar (redpathsugar.com.) Makes 1 loaf.

2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. (5 g) EACH baking soda and ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. EACH salt and ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and line a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving about a 2-inch overhang on each side for easy unmolding. Set aside.

Advertisement 7

Article content

In a bowl, mash bananas with a pastry cutter or fork. Stir in dark brown sugar, melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract mixing until well blended. In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg  until thoroughly combined.  Add wet ingredients into dry, and fold until just combined. If you plan to add any nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips, or fruit, fold them into batter when folding in flour. (*See Chef’s Tips)

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Let banana bread cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing. Place onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely or serve warm, or at room temperature. Store any leftovers wrapped in plastic wrap or  in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Advertisement 8

Article content

*Chef’s Tips:

– Add banana slices or thinly sliced banana halves to top of loaf before baking. If using halves, place sliced halves closer to edges of pan versus in middle to prevent them from sinking. Sprinkle bananas with 1 to 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar.

– Frozen bananas may be used. Remove from freezer and thaw on the counter for about 2 hours.

– Add 1/4 cup of dried fruit and/or nuts for added flavour and texture.

– For chocolate chip banana bread, fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.

Blended Banana Iced Coffee (Dole)
Blended Banana Iced Coffee (Dole) Photo by supplied /Dole

Blended Banana Iced Coffee

Vegan and gluten-free; recipe courtesy of Dole (dole.com/en.) Makes 4 servings.

3 ripe bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into thirds

3 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. EACH ground cardamom and vanilla extract

Advertisement 9

Article content

3 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk plus additional for serving (optional)

4 cups brewed coffee, cooled

2 Tbsp. shaved good quality milk chocolate

Puree bananas, sugar, cardamom and vanilla extract in a blender; with blender running, slowly add milk. Freeze  banana mixture 1 hour or until almost solid. Makes about 2½ cups.

Divide coffee into 4 (12-oz.) glasses; stir in banana mixture and sprinkle with chocolate. Serve with  additional milk, if desired.

Bananas Foster Mini Pies (Dole)
Bananas Foster Mini Pies (Dole) Photo by supplied /Dole

Bananas Foster Mini Pies

Recipe courtesy of Dole (dole.com/en.) Makes 6 pies.

Nonstick cooking spray

6 wonton wrappers

2 ripe bananas, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1 tsp. rum extract

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

6 Tbsp. light coconut whipped topping (or regular whipped cream)

Preheat oven to 350F; spray 6 standard muffin cups with cooking spray. Press wrappers into bottoms and up sides of prepared cups; spray with cooking spray. Bake wrappers 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Heat bananas, syrup, almonds, rum extract and cinnamon to a simmer in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to medium and cook 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Makes about 2 cups.

Fill wrappers with banana mixture; top with whipped topping.

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *