Isn’t food wastage just the pits? No one likes throwing food out – especially with the cost of groceries these days. And if you’re like me, aiming to go to the grocery store no more than once a week, you’re often left trying to use up any extra fruit and veg before it grows fur.
Since moving up the Sunshine Coast – and with the arrival of summer – it’s our bananas that are ripening quicker than I can keep up. Despite ensuring they are still green when they hit the fruit bowl.
It appears that they are anxious to take on that perfect shade of yellow. Yellow and screaming “Eat me now! Don’t waste another moment!” But a person can only eat so many bananas in one day.
Then, without noticing, they casually take on a few innocent brown spots, nudging at you the thought: “Eat those bananas before they rot”. And you do what you can, slicing one up into your morning cereal.
But the next thing you know, you glance over at the fruit bowl and the bananas appear as if they’ve just returned from a family holiday to Death Valley, sans the sunscreen. Black on the outside and melting on the inside. Wasted!
But fear not. I recently picked up a few useful tips and we can in fact reduce the fatalities of our potassium-filled friend the banana.
Save your bananas:
– Separate your bananas from the bunch at the stem, storing them loosely together, opposed to on-top of one another.
– And keep them away from other fruits in your fruit bowl. Both these methods should slow down the ripening process due to less exposure to ethylene gas – produced by many fruits to induce ripening.
– You can also pop them in the fridge. The skin will go black but the banana will still be good for the taking.
– But if this does not work – you can freeze bananas (peel them first) and use them later on for smoothies, banana bread, banana pancakes, etc. At your convenience.
Having only just acquired these few little secrets – possibly more obvious solutions for some – I’ve been doing a fair bit of baking with bananas. And I thought I would share one of my many recent banana-revivals, the banana-bran muffin. The are relatively healthy (as far muffins go); quite irresistible; and you can freeze them for about a month.
Banana, Bran and Cinnamon Muffins
2 cups plain (all-purpose flour)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup oat bran
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs honey
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 mashed (ripe) bananas
Preheat to 180C
Place dry ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, mix to combine the honey, egg, milk, oil and vanilla.
Pour the egg mix into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Stir through the banana.
Spoon mixture into muffin tins with cases and bake 25-30 mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
(Makes 12 muffins)
(Credits: Recipe adapted from Donna Hay, Fresh and Light. Images are my own)