Overripe bananas seem to be the red-headed step child to many. Undesirable, they get thrown away and understandably so as a blemished banana can appear off-putting. The truth, however, is that overripe bananas offer a wealth of culinary uses. They are not only nature’s gift to a cook but also the gift that keeps giving. Why?
Overripe bananas provide a cook with many uses. They are a baker’s secret weapon in creating moist, naturally sweetened goods. Its nature’s way of giving us the baker’s trifecta of sugar, oil/butter, and eggs all at once as overripe bananas have the ability to sweeten, moisten, and bind.
When bananas ripen their starch turns into sugar, accounting for the sweet taste. The more it ripens, the more the depth of sweetness intensifies. You can reduce the sugar in many recipes and instead use overripe bananas. Also, a half-cup of mashed, overripe banana is equivalent to one cup of oil and one large egg.
In fact, many cooks purposely over-ripen bananas because they deem the taste and texture superior to ripened bananas. To speed up the process, ripened bananas can be placed with an apple in a brown paper bag. The apple will give off ethylene, a gas that will serve as a catalyst for over ripening bananas.
Many of us need not conduct this science project at home and can simply rely on our inability to go through an entire bunch, thus effortlessly procuring overripe bananas. Voilà! Now you have an ingredient that can serve as a foundation for a bevy of cakes, muffins, loaves, and puddings.
You may be thinking if I didn’t even have the time to eat all my bananas, what makes you think I’ll have time to cook with it? Au contraire, herein lies the beauty of overripe bananas! They can be frozen in full form, peel and all, for up to three months and can be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight for use the next day. Even when the peel is black, it is suitable, some would even say desirable, to cook with or freeze.
Whether you choose to use your overripe bananas in the immediate future or freeze them for later use, you will never again be without a use for them. Overripe bananas are an edible testament to one man’s trash being another man’s treasure.
You can never go you wrong with something sweet and deep fried. This recipe will have you wishing your bananas are overripe just so you can treat yourself to these tasty fritters!
Banana Ice Cream
Techincally this isn't an ice cream. There are neither egg yolks nor cream. There's no churning either. There is, however, tons of flavor without tons of calories and fat. You only need three ingredients, frozen overripe bananas being one of them, and a food processor and you'll have in your hands an ice creamy treat that'll make you go bananas over the taste!
For the Banana, Honey, and Peanut Butter Ice Cream recipe, click here.
Orginally published on May 1, 2015.