I am unusually picky about bananas. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only a 2-day window in which bananas are OK to eat: when they’re perfectly yellow. Not green. Definitely not brown. Even yellow with speckly brown bits isn’t good. I can’t do it.
Yes, I know the banana is a perfect snack. Good cut up with yogurt, great with peanut butter and whole wheat toast. But brown bananas are double ick, too sweet, really I can’t even pretend to eat them. There are some things you can eat to be polite … this isn’t one of them.
OK, so what to do with the leftover bits of banana. When cutting up for toast, using only a half, what to do? Or when you buy 4, because they’re on sale, then only eat one, the others slipping away into the brown wilderness, inedible. Can’t throw them out.
I freeze them.
Whole, in their skins, just toss them in (they go completely black when frozen). Let them thaw at room temperature later, on a dinner plate, drain off the liquid, then they’re good to go for banana bread (I have a great recipe with pecans and chocolate chips on top), ban-muffins (with or without chocolate chips), and low fat ban-cranberry oatmeal cookies.
And on days when I’m feeling like I need a particularly healthy snack, or when I’m starving and it’s not really suppertime yet, I make a smoothie with the chunks of dead frozen banana.
You need a blender for this. Toss into your blender the following:
- ½ cup plain yogurt, fat free is healthier (other flavours work, too)
- ½ of a frozen dead banana (best if cut up into chunks and frozen in a little bag, otherwise the blender has a hard time with a giant frozen banana piece)
- ½ cup orange juice (or orange mango, grapefruit is too sour, punch drinks have too much added sugar)
- ½ cup skim milk to thin the mixture enough so that it will blend properly
- ½ cup of any other miscellaneous fruit
Put the top on the blender, and mix until it’s ready to drink.
I add in whatever else is in my freezer, other dead fruit bits, things rescued and cut up just before they go bad, like a few strawberries, or the end of a fresh pineapple. They just wait in the freezer until needed. Of course, you can also buy frozen fruit mixes in bags from the grocery store and keep for just such emergencies.
If you don’t have frozen banana bits, you can use other frozen bits and some fresh dead banana. Just make sure that some part of this concoction is frozen, otherwise it won’t really get that milkshake consistency when blended.
You may have to add a little bit more milk if it’s too thick and the blender starts to protest. Or if it turns out to be too thick to pour. I like strawberry-ban smoothies, and blueberry-ban. If you don’t have yogurt, you can use ice cream, which in fact tastes better, but isn’t really diet food, whereas the rest of this smoothie is pretty darn healthy.
Somehow this magically erases all of the bad tastes of dead banana. When drinking a smoothie, I feel quite self-righteous, healthy, super healthy, in fact. It’s an amazing thing. Where I wouldn’t touch a dead banana with a ten foot pole, here, with this drink, I actually feel super human. Anyone watching their caloric intake will be happy to have only natural sugars. Small kids think they’re getting a milkshake and don’t know that you’re sneaking in extra daily fruit servings.
Imagine what you could do with a bit of planning… every time you buy blueberries and there’s a few soft ones in the bottom, toss them in a bag in the freezer. The last squishy strawberries. The mango that went soft before you could finish it. And of course, the dead bananas. Blech.
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Thanks and bon appetit!
Shelley MacDonald Beaulieu, Owner & Head Chef
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