Have you ever been struck by a banana bread craving so strong that it must be immediately satisfied? The kind of craving that sneaks up on you as you’re browsing through any number of pages on Pinterest and then suddenly takes hold of you before you can realize what has happened? One minute you’re scrolling through over-the-top gingerbread houses and home-knitted chicken hats, Mason jar DIY’s, and rainbow everything, and the next minute your eyes zoom in on a banana bread mug cake and it’s game over. You type “banana bread recipes,” hit search, and suddenly the screen is filled with pictures of loaves, muffins, round cakes and square, drizzled with peanut butter, filled with chocolate chips or plain — the onslaught of recipes is unwavering. They just keep loading and loading and loading.
Suddenly it’s all you can think about, you must make banana bread and you must make it now. No store-bought variety will do! It absolutely has to be homemade!
One preliminary look in the pantry and fridge confirms you have all you need to whip up the banana bread your heart and stomach desire. Alas! Upon gathering the ingredients you discover that the bananas you thought were ripe enough are still starchy and firm! Do not despair, for there is a solution, and it’s not crowdsourcing or making a mock banana (though you could always give it a try).
With an oven set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit you can truly make miracles happen. Place your disgraced, not-ripe-enough bananas, unpeeled and in a single layer, upon a lined baking sheet and leave in the warm oven for about 45 minutes. They may leak a tad, and their skins will turn from yellow to shiny, lacquered black — but don’t worry, that’s what’s supposed to happen. Once they have undergone their transformation, all that is left to do is leave them to cool for about 30 minutes. If that is too much to ask for, pop them in the fridge to further speed up the process.
The microwave is yet another tool to turn to in the event of a ripe banana shortage. While the oven is a great technique to use for those who do not own microwaves, this solution is even more immediate in its results, making it great for any impatient people who need a banana bread fix yesterday. Simply poke the bananas you need all over with a fork, place on a paper towel and zap in 30-second intervals for up to two minutes, depending on how unripe your banana was to start with.
Though the microwave method is much speedier than the oven method, you probably don’t want to use it if your bananas are still quite green. Because the microwave is so quick to soften the fruit, the natural sugars within do not develop and sweeten as they do with the oven method of speed-ripening.
So there you have it, a great trick to help you survive an overripe banana drought when all may seem lost. Do not despair — go forth and bake with your newly ripened bananas! For inspiration, click here and discover 10 delicious uses for overripe bananas.