There is No Excuse for Discarding One's Banana!

Have you read the recent furore about banana wastage in the UK?  

Apparently we, as a nation, throw away 162,000,000 bananas annually. In many cases this is because they either a bit green or a bit brown, neither of which is a valid reason to discard one’s banana. 


Over Ripe Bananas

As bananas ripen and become sweeter they develop brown spots on their skin which merely indicated the degree of ripeness. It has even been argued that a riper (and therefore browner skinned) banana is the healthier choice.

Sainsbury's have been encouraging people to make banana bread or cake with overripe bananas and give a recipe on their site but as one of the ingredients is “sponge mix” I’d rather give my own here. 

Caribbean Banana Lime Bread ~ with optional rum!

225g soft light brown sugar
110g soft butter
285g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
generous pinch of salt
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas – mashed fairly smoothly although a few lumps are fine
juice of 1 lime
85ml milk
an additional 45g light brown sugar
30g butter
1 tablespoon of rum – optional

~   Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Lightly grease a loaf tin -  20cm x 12.5cm is ideal.
~   Stir two teaspoons of lime juice into the milk.
~   Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
~   Sift together the next three ingredients.
~   Beat the eggs into the butter mixture together with a spoonful or two of the flour mixture (which should stop it curdling although it doesn’t really matter if it does!).
~   Add the mashed bananas, the lime zest and the milk and lime juice mixture and beat in.
~   Fold in the rest of the flour mix.
~   Decant the cake batter into the loaf tin an bake for about an hour till risen and golden brown.
~   When ready cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before turning out carefully.
~   Whilst it is cooling over low heat stir together the 45g light brown sugar, 30g butter, the rest of the lime juice and the optional rum to form a syrup.
~   Carefully turn the cake out and then sit it back on the cooling rack over a plate or a tray to catch drips.
~   Carefully spoon the syrup over the warm cake.
~   Leave to cool.

A sprinkle of toasted coconut is a lovely finish to this cake and if using desiccated coconut please see here for an easy way to make it much, much nicer!

Green Bananas

There is nothing wrong with these and here are two options for dealing with them …

1.   Wait till they ripen.  This can be speeded up by putting them in a brown paper bag together with a ripe apple or orange or a ripe banana.  The ripe fruit releases a gas called ethylene which will encourage the unripe fruit to get on with it.
2.   Cook them. Green bananas are very popular in the Caribbean (here’s a pic of some growing in our garden when we lived in the BVI) and a simple way is to boil them and serve as a side dish to savoury dishes.  Just peel (you will need a knife as they don’t peel easily when under ripe) and cook in boiling salted water for 10-15 minutes. 


Banana Chips

Peel under ripe bananas with a knife, cut into wedges or thin fries and and deep fry at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.) till crisp and golden. Drain well, season with salt and maybe a little chilli powder and serve.

Banana Brittle 

These are lovely for nibbling purposes or serving with ice cream.

60g butter
1 tbsp oil
6 tbsp caster sugar
2 bananas - thinly sliced

~   Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Melt together butter and oil and brush over a baking tray and sprinkle with half the sugar.
~   Arrange the banana slices on the tray in a single layer.
~   Sprinkle with the other half of the sugar.
~   Roast in the oven keeping an eye on them; Every time a banana slice looks crisp and golden remove from the oven and set aside on a plate.  When I say "looks crisp" this doesn't mean it is actually crisp, this doesn't happen till it cools.
~   Continue doing this till the plate is full and the baking tray is empty - abotu 30 minutes.
~   Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


As it happens I cannot abide bananas (although I will work with them!) yet I came up with over 20 good ideas for bananas, including overripe bananas, in Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers.


Just think of all the ideas I have come up with for the other 450 or so ingredients in the book! Read more about my leftovers cookbook here.
Well, that’s about that for this post but just in case you don't know what I am talking about this is what you need ...



Sue said...

Haha ... 'boneless bananas' .. what will they think of next ;-)

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

Can't argue with it though! said...

When I worked in a school, some kids refused to eat the bananas in their lunchboxes if they were spottled and brown and I would convince them that this was a good thing, making them lovely and sweet. Bananas are my 'go to' food and I love 'em. I like them slightly under-ripe and when they go over, they are assigned to a cake/muffin/pancake recipe. Even if I don't fancy any of the baked goods at the time, I freeze them until I'm in the mood. Food waste of any kind does not sit well with me.

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

I can't even understand people throwing away perfectly good food - even bananas!

Linda Wright said...

Hi Suzy, love the sound of the Caribbean Banana Lime Bread and want to make it. Just checking how many limes are needed though - I'm guessing it's just one, but it doesn't actually say on the ingredient list.

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

Well spotted Linda! You need 1 lime, I've made the correction and thank you.

Linda Wright said...

Made this on Thursday to share with family and it was lovely - moist and very moreish. I might try it with more lime next time too.