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Bananas 101

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Bananas 101

There are three groups of bananas; sweet bananas (or dessert bananas), cooking bananas (also called “plantains”), and inedible bananas.

There are numerous varieties of sweet bananas; most have yellow-colored skin, though some varieties have red, pink or purple skin. The skin is not edible. Some banana varieties are very small. These are “baby” bananas (also called “lady finger bananas). Bananas vary in flavor and texture, some varieties being more mealy or sweeter than others.

BUYING BANANAS

Choose: an intact banana that is not too hard.

Avoid: a very green banana, a split or soft banana, unless using it for cooking. Banana is also commercially available as flour or as dried chips, which are very high in calories.

STORING BANANAS

Bananas are fragile

At Room Temperature: to speed up their ripening; place in a paper bag or newspaper.

In The Fridge: very ripe, a few days. Their skin will blacken but not the flesh.

In The Freezer: 2 months, puréed.  Mix in a little lemon juice to prevent the bananas form discoloring and developing an unpleasant taste.

Defrosted bananas are cooked in cakes, muffins or other desserts. Partially defrosted bananas will become mousse-like when whipped, resulting in a dessert resembling ice cream.

SERVING IDEAS FOR BANANAS

Bananas are eaten as is. They can be cooked in the oven, quick-braised, boiled, sautéed or fried. They are used as a fruit or vegetable (green banana breaks up less and is not as sweet as ripe banana).

Bananas are delicious sprinkled with ginger or cinnamon, dressed with brown sugar that has been mixed with a little lemon or lime juice, and flambéed with rum or orange liqueur.

Bananas work well with dairy products. They are used in sundaes, yogurts, ice creams, sorbets, milkshakes, tapioca and flans.

Bananas are made into a purée that is eaten as is or used for pies, cakes, muffins, puddings and fritters.

An essence is extracted from bananas that flavor numerous dishes. Bananas can be dehydrated or distilled.

DID YOU KNOW

Did you know that bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and potassium?

When over ripe bananas are slightly laxative.

    

Sweet Bananas              Red Bananas                Baby Bananas

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