Fresh Berry

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Fresh Berry
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Chef Pete

The "Dish"

"My dish of well seasoned food knowledge, tips & videos with a side of humor

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Bananas… A Bunch of “Good Stuff”…

March 2, 2017
(1) Comments on this post

I have this habit of buying more bananas than I can eat.
Actually, I don’t feel too guilty about it because when the bananas get too ripe to enjoy eating out of hand, I just throw them in my freezer where they stay until I get in the mood to make some kind of dessert,…or banana bread.
Well, the other day, I noticed my “dead” banana morgue was getting a bit out of control, I mean these things were taking over so I decided to make a big batch of banana bread. I do this so often that I’ve taped up the recipe on the inside of my pantry cupboard but somehow it disappeared. So, rather than search through all my recipes, I went to one place I know it resides, right on Nino’s website. Even easier, since I’ve installed a Nino’s website link on my phone, within seconds I had it right in the palm of my hand. Perfect.
Personally, I love bananas…, banana bread, banana cake, puddings, muffins, on cereal and of course, just on their own.
Another thing I like about bananas is that they’re also great partners with SO many other foods and ingredients like chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla anything, rum, caramel and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
We have a lot of recipes on our website that use bananas like my Buttery Rum Sauce and our Tropical Pineapple Salad with Bananas and Toasted Coconut 

But here are a few NEW ideas which I think your family might really enjoy and have been a HUGE hit when I’ve made them for impromptu gatherings….

Banana & Peanut Butter Crescent Roll-Ups

This is an “easy peasy” recipe that uses the crescent roll dough you can buy in the dairy aisle. (You know…the kind in the tube…)
Just cut a 1 ½” piece of ripe banana, smear it with a teaspoon on peanut butter (smooth or chunky) and place it on the wide end of the triangular crescent dough.
Roll it forward (don’t worry about sealing the ends). Brush the tops of the roll-ups with egg wash (1 egg beaten with ¼ cup milk or water will do), then generously sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar and bake per directions on the package for the crescent rolls. (BTW…you can also drizzle honey on them after baking!! Yum!)

The Simplest 1 Loaf Banana Bread with Variations: Makes one 9” x 4” loaf

Using RIPE Bananas is SO important I can’t over emphasize it! Not only is it a flavor thing but even more importantly, the acid that develops in riper bananas is needed to create the leavening when it reacts to the baking soda.

I like to add nuts and other things to my bread but they are not essential to the results of this simple recipe.

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour, Sifted
1 tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Salt
½ Cup Salted Butter, Softened
3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 Extra Large Eggs, Beaten
2 1/3 Cups Bananas, VERY Ripe and Mashed

Optional 2/3 Cup Walnut Pieces
½ Cup Raisins
¼ Cup Sun-Dried Cherries or Cranberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease or spray a 9” x 4” inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.
4. Carefully stir in any additional garnish.
5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
6. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and leave in the loaf pan for about 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
8. You can store this bread, wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, in your refrigerator for a week.
Did you know?
• Bananas actually grow in long segments (3) within their peel? No kidding? Check it out!
• They’re grown in at least 107 countries and the 4th leading world food crop after rice, wheat and corn (in financial value).
• That all export bananas, (which is likely every banana you’ve EVER eaten) are picked green, and ripen in special rooms of ethylene gas upon before begin delivered to your grocery store. Without this gas a green picked banana will never fully ripen before it rots.
• A quick way to ripen a store bought banana is to place it in a paper bag to trap its own ethylene gases and thus, speed ripening. Adding a tomato or apple to the bag helps even more!
• Banana leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. They’re often used as “plates” in South Asia and several Southeast Asian countries.
• Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between “bananas” and “plantains”. Especially in the Americas and Europe, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called “plantains”.
• Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin, streamed with rice & wrapped in a banana leafs, made into jam, pancakes, sun-dried chips, banana flour, juices and smoothies, fritters and of course, just on their own.
• Plantains are used in various stews and curries or cooked, baked or mashed in much the same way as potatoes.
• Don’t store bananas in the refrigerator, they will turn black and decay from the inside out.
• Lastly, bananas are SO good for you that listing all of their healthful benefits would be lengthy….trust me, a banana a day keeps the doctor away might have been the doctors 1st choice.

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