It’s time to level up this baking classic.
Australians chomp through more than five million bananas every day. Not only does this make them a best-selling item at the supermarket, it also means there’s a high chance you’ve got a few at home begging to be put to use.
For those poking around the cupboards looking to bake a wholesome snack, you’re in luck. We’ve got a couple of standout ‘nana recipes that’ll morph your flotsam of ingredients into a dish your mates will rave about. All you’ll need is a good oven.
How to Ripen Bananas
Before you jump into cooking with bananas, first thing’s first: what if your bananas aren’t ripe? If your bananas are in their salad days, green in hue and firm in peel, don’t stress. You have options. One is to harness chemicals (the beaker-free, natural kind) like ethylene and amylase. Bananas already produce ethylene gas as they ripen, and putting them in a paper bag with another fruit that emits the aging vapour, like apples or avocados, will hasten browning. Amylase breaks down starchy bananas and can be found in raw egg yolks. Just mash a yolk through bananas once or twice over a period of 30 minutes and you’ll have ripened fruit perfect for the following recipe.
Banana Bread with Raspberries and Chocolate Chips
This fruity twist on a classic has just enough vitamins to make the chocolate guilt-free. Baking with added steam is the trick, it provides moisture so your banana bread doesn’t dry out. How do you bake with added steam you say? Click here to find out more. Frozen berries will do, so no need to head to the store for freshies, and if you don’t have raspberries you can improvise. Blueberries are also an excellent choice. A fun fact for anyone unsure of mixing bananas and berries: bananas are a berry — at least by botanical definition. (So are cucumbers but that would be a step too far for this recipe.)
Get the banana bread guide here.
Bananas are a good brainfood
One of the reasons banana bread is so beloved is because their main ingredient is healthy produce. Bananas are low in calories (around 105 per banana), nearly fat free, and high in fibre. Their hearty potassium content is well documented but bananas also contain powerful antioxidants, one of which is the noted mood-enhancer, dopamine. Bananas have vitamin B6 and tryptophan too, which help the body make serotonin. No wonder eating banana bread feels so good.
Banana Bread Variations That Will Make Your Standard Recipe Even Better
Now that you’ve got the bones of a banana bread recipe, it’s time to broaden your horizons. There are a whole host of ancillary ingredients that can make your recipe pop if you don’t go down the berry route. Have you tried spicing up your loaf with actual spices? Cinnamon and nutmeg are great for the cooler months ahead. If you’re experimenting with mouth-feel, nuts will add a welcomed crunch. Pecans and macadamias are a good place to start. For more delectable additions, you can view more banana bread variations here.
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