Last week I shared with you our recipe for Banana Ice Cream. This week I am going to share one of our older recipes, Banana Oatmeal Bread. Just like last week, I made a video to go along with the recipe, which you can check out down below. Unfortunately, the video is not quite as exciting because none of my children felt like helping out in the kitchen when it was time to make the bread.
As I mentioned last week, I am making a lot of banana recipes right now because bananas ripen quickly in the hot weather. In fact, my local grocery store will often sell bags of overripe bananas for only 99 cents. When I am able to grab one of those bags, I will make several banana recipes in a week. Banana bread is a recipe that I make regularly because everyone in my family likes it, it is filling, it makes a good side dish at any meal, and it makes a good snack.
I like to bake banana bread in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan because it takes less time (about 20 minutes) and because it cooks more evenly in my oven. Cooking it in that pan saved me about 35 minutes of baking time compared to using a bread pan. Sometimes I will use a muffin pan for this recipe, which takes only 12-14 minutes of baking time. You can bake this bread in the pan that works best for you – I hope you like it. Enjoy!
There are so many ways that we can make the most of bananas, a nutrient packed snack full of potassium, and vitamins B, C, and A. What happens when they get brown, a little mushy, and are no longer good to eat though? Don’t throw them away! Some easy ways to use these ripe bananas are in popsicles, breads, muffins, smoothies, and as substitutes in your own home recipes. For example, in your daily recipes, you can substitute one ripe banana for each egg that is called for in the recipe.
If you aren’t able to cook with the bananas right away, they can be placed in a ziploc bag in the freezer until you are ready to use them. My personal favorite use for ripe bananas is mixing up a big batch of banana bread loaves. Any of the loaves that don’t get eaten can be frozen and saved another day. These are perfect for a family brunch or quick and healthy snack after school.
Banana bread is one of my favorite foods. I can make it a part of any meal or snack. Luckily my family agrees with me. Our April recipe is banana oatmeal bread, and it is delicious!
In February I got a great deal on bananas at the grocery store. There were bags of about four bunches of bananas for $0.99 per bag. The bananas were starting to get brown and soft, but that was fine with me. I bought two bags and froze them when we got home from the store.
I like to freeze bananas for banana bread whole with the peel still on. When I am ready to make the bread, I grab three or four bananas and thaw them under running water. Once they are thawed, I pull the bottom off the banana, squeeze the flesh into a bowl, and mash with a fork.
I like to freeze bananas for snacking and for smoothies already peeled and sliced. I peel and slice the bananas, place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and put them in the freezer until they are solidly frozen. Then I transfer them to a freezer bag. This makes it easy to grab a few banana slices for a cool snack or to thicken up a smoothie.
Did you guess bananas? I was surprised when I learned bananas are also the world’s best-selling fruit. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and magnesium plus they are usually inexpensive. You get about 3 bananas for a pound depending on the size. Here in Iowa bananas have been 44 to 59 cents per pound which means they cost 15 to 20 cents each. Last week at my store you could buy bags of ripe bananas for 19 cents per pound which means they would cost about 8 cents each. That’s a really good deal IF they don’t spoil before you use them.
Since bananas are so popular we created three videos with helpful banana tips and a one page tip sheet to go with each one. Check them out!
1. Choose great bananas Bananas are a popular fruit. Depending how you use them you may want to choose bananas at various stages of ripeness. To learn more about this topic, download the tip sheet (PDF): here
2. Make the most of your bananas Bananas are the most popular fruit in the United States. Learn new ways to include bananas in your meals and snacks. To learn more about this topic, download the tip sheet (PDF): here
3. Store bananas A ripe banana will last will last less than a week on the counter. So how can you best store bananas? Learn some options so your bananas don’t go to waste. To learn more about this topic, download the tip sheet (PDF): here
Our featured recipe this month is a perfect one to get your kids involved in the kitchen. Kids enjoy helping in the kitchen and are often more willing to eat foods they help prepare. Plan ways the children in your care can help you. Be sure to consider the age of the child. For this recipe kids can:
Wash their hands (do this before starting any cooking).
Crush the graham crackers up by putting them in a seal-able plastic bag and rolling the side of a glass over them.
Peel and cut up the bananas.
Measure and pour the milk.
Stir the pudding.
Layer the pudding, crushed graham crackers, and bananas.
And clean up the dishes.
After you make this recipe with your kids, let them experiment with other pudding flavors and fruit. If they want to take it for lunch or a picnic make it in small plastic containers with lids. Keep cold with ice packs.
Most of us are buying more fruits and vegetables. That is a good first step. But should you wash them before you put them away or just before you serve them? Should you store them in the refrigerator or on the counter? Will they continue ripening at home? The answer to these questions is…it depends!
Some fruits have better flavor if they are stored at room temperature. Tomatoes, unripe melons, and tree fruits (pears, peaches and nectarines) should be kept at room temperature so they can ripen and become sweeter. After they are fully ripe, store them in the refrigerator until you are ready eat them. Tomatoes will keep longer if stored with the stem side down.
Generally it is better to eat vegetables as soon as possible after picked. However, some vegetables like celery, cabbage, bell peppers and carrots will keep one to two weeks in the refrigerator.
When to wash fruits and vegetables also “depends”. If your produce has dirt on it, wash it before storing. Otherwise you can probably wait to wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Neither the USDA nor FDA recommends washing fruits and vegetables in anything but cold, drinkable water. Do not let produce soak in the sink. You do not need to wash them with special products or dishwashing detergent. Melons, cucumbers, winter squash, citrus fruit, and potatoes should be scrubbed with a brush. Bananas need to be rinsed off as well. Imagine how many hands touch the fruit before it gets to your mouth.
This month we are featuring the Holiday Fruit Salad recipe. This salad is great anytime, and looks so good and tastes so fresh it is perfect for special meals.
Here are some tips if you would like to try it now to see if you want to include it for your holiday meals.
Use any canned, frozen, or fresh fruit. When you combine different fruit colors and shapes I think the salad looks more interesting.
If you want to use fresh fruit, consider oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, pears, pomegranates, apples and papayas because they are plentiful or “in season” in the winter months and usually cost less. (Bananas are also a good buy year round.)
The fruit can either be arranged on the plate with the sauce drizzled over the top, or for a faster version, just combine the cut up fruit with the cooled sauce and serve.
The juice in the recipe adds flavor and nutrients, but you can get by without it.
You can vary the color and flavor of the sauce by using different flavors of gelatin. One package of gelatin mix makes enough for 2 salads. Store and label the leftover gelatin for the next time you want to dress up your fruit.
I like this recipe because it looks special, but does not add a lot of sugar and fat (i.e. calories) to the fruit.
This is a great food to take to the park, on a bike ride or just for a backyard picnic. The pita pockets are great for holding in sweet juicy fruit, but whole wheat bread could be substituted to save a trip to the store or a few pennies.
This very simple recipe will be best with ripe fruit. Fruit is plentiful in the market right now, but it is not all ripe. Apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plantains and plums continue to ripen at room temperature after they’re picked. To speed their ripening, put them in a loosely closed brown paper bag. Plastic bags don’t work for ripening. Once fully ripened, fruits may be stored in the refrigerator to lengthen their storage time. Though the outside skin of a refrigerated banana will turn dark brown, the inside will remain light-colored.
Consider teaching your kids or grandkids to make this recipes. Let them choose a new fruit to try.
Warm each pita half in the microwave for about 10 seconds to make them more flexible.
Carefully open each pocket and spread about 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on the inside walls of each pita half. You may need to warm the peanut butter in the microwave for a few seconds, especially if it has been in the refrigerator.
Fill each pocket with sliced fruit. Serve at room temperature.
On a recent shopping trip, I started thinking about the cost of produce—bananas to be specific. It seems their cost has really skyrocketed over the past few years. I’m probably dating myself by admitting that I remember when I could buy bananas for 25 cents a pound! On this shopping trip to a big box store, the cost was 64 cents a pound. Well, it’s no wonder families are tempted to buy snack food to satisfy their hungry members instead of produce. So, being a home economist, I decided to do a comparison. I bought 5 bananas that weighed 1.71 pounds; the cost was $1.09. That meant that each banana cost between 20 and 21 cents each.
Next, I strolled over to the snack aisle and looked at a package of taco chips. The regular size bag cost $3.99. How many bananas could I buy for the cost of a bag of chips? Nineteen bananas! For a family of four, each member could have a banana a day for about 5 days for the cost of one bag of chips.
I’m sure the chips would not last that long at most houses; but, neither would the bananas. The lesson for me was that fresh produce may seem expensive, but when you calculate it by serving (a banana is one serving), the cost is reasonable. The challenge is to know—and serve—just one serving. Fresh produce tastes so good it may be hard to eat just one. Sounds like the start of a campaign—”I bet you can’t eat just one.” Oh, right, that’s already been used with a chip commercial.