That’s the annoying thing about the summer – things tend to go off in record time, especially the things that you can’t keep in the fridge. And one of these things is the humble banana, the kitchen staple of many a busy family what with it being healthy, nutritious and rather tasty, But then comes the summer months and you find yourself trying to ignore that rather brown bunch in the fruit bowl because the thought of making yet more banana bread is making your heart sink. Yes, I’ll admit it – I’m sick of banana bread. Part of this is because I’ve never been able to find a recipe I’m one hundred percent happy with but also, because of the warmer weather, I’ve been making a bit more than usual to use up the leftover brown bananas and if I never see another loaf of the stuff it will be too soon. So here are a few alternative ways to use up those ripe bananas, some of them with a bit of a summery twist…
I’m hearing people extoling the snacking virtues of the frozen banana but I’m not completely convinced. However, when it comes to riper ones, this is much more enticing – stick them in the freezer, either chopped or quartered, then when you come to use them, pop the bananas in the food processor and use as an alternative to ice cream, or even WITH ice cream (I know which one I’d prefer).
I keep reading about mashing up bananas and putting them in your pancake mix, but I think using them in drop scones would be much better. I have a confession – I never follow a recipe when I make up this sort of batter. It’s one of the few things that even I can’t get wrong. Start off with some flour and a large pinch of salt in a mixing bowl (a small mound? Is that vague enough?), then drop 2 eggs on the top with a small amount of milk. Whisk the lot together and keeping adding milk until you get the consistency you require (pouring for pancakes, spooning consistency for drop scones). With the bananas, I would suggest mashing up a couple and adding them to the mix, then adjust the milk accordingly. Drop the mixture in tablespoon-shaped dollops on a hot frying pan and cook until brown on each side (this takes about a minute). May I suggest ice cream as an accompaniment again?
And now for a slightly healthier option – mash up 2-3 bananas, then combine with oatmeal and a small amount of butter and sugar until your get a mixture that you can roll into balls. Check it for sweetness and add more sugar to satisfy your palate if required. You can also put in nuts, raisins or anything else you’ve got sitting in the cupboard. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes depending on if you want them chewy or crunchy.
Baked fruit is always a great easy pudding option and bananas are no exception. Keep them in their skins and make a small slice down the side of each one. Shove a few bits of chocolate in there, then wrap in a foil parcel and bake for 10-15 minutes. Or – special summertime recommendation alert – stick them on the charcoals of your barbeque. Once heated through they should be lovely and gooey – perfect with, you’ve guessed it, ice cream.