January 17, 2019 at 10:54 a.m.

The origins of the banana

The origins of the banana
The origins of the banana

 Do  you remember the commercial jingle, “I’m Chiquita banana and I’ve come to say……?” I am sure the older of us remember it but I don’t think the younger set hasn’t a clue what that’s about. I’m sure you know what the recipes are for today.

 I like to find a bit of information about where many of the foods we eat today were discovered and how the food was prepared many years ago. In the early 1500’s, bananas were first discovered along the Indus River (I don’t know where that river is), three centuries before Christ, bananas were  brought to the Western Hemisphere, West Indies, the Pacific islands, and throughout Central Africa. Many natives relied on bananas as their staple food. A diet only of this food will supply nourishment for a long period because of its relatively high level of nitrogen.

As you know, if you want to use the bananas soon, full-ripe fruit should be bought. I buy 2 or 3 full-ripe bananas to be eaten in a three or four days and 5 or 6 partially ripened to use in a week or more. To keep them fresh I cool them in the fridge as is and when cold I put them in a plastic bag, remove as much air from the bag as possible, tighten the bag with a twist tie and they will remain fresh for at least two weeks. They will remain firm to use as you wish. It really does work.

And yes, it’s banana recipes today.

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BANANA NUT 
BROWNIES
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 c. sugar
3 T. baking cocoa
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. mashed ripe bananas ( 3 medium)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar or a chocolate frosting,  optional

In a bowl, combine butter, sugar and cocoa. Stir in eggs, milk and vanilla. Blend in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in bananas and nuts. Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until brownies test done.…don’t over bake. Cool on a wire rack. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar or your favorite chocolate frosting if you wish.  Makes 12-16 servings.  Note: If you’re serving as a dessert, put a scoop of ice cream on each serving to “dress-it” up.

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LOW-FAT BANANA MUFFINS
 2-1/2 c. flour
 2 t. baking powder
 1 t. baking soda
 1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
 1 c. sugar                           
3 egg whites, slightly beaten
4-5 medium, ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 c.)
1 t. vanilla

 In a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients, mixing well. Combine remaining ingredients in another bowl; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. (Remember not to beat until smooth!) Coat muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray or use paper liners; fill cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  Makes 15 muffins. Nutritional value:  One muffin equals 163 calories, 125 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol, 38 ms carbs., 3 gm protein, trace fat.

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BANANA CREAM DESSERT
Crust:
1/2 c. butter
1 c. flour

Filling:
1 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 – 12 oz. container non-dairy whipped topping, div ided
 4 large ripe bananas
 2 – 3 oz. pkgs. banana-flavored instant pudding mix
3 c. chilled milk

In a bowl, cut butter and flour together as you would for pie crust; press into bottom of a 9 x 13-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool. Prepare filing by combining cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy; fold in half of whipped topping until well mixed. Gently spread filling over cooled crust. Slice bananas, placing over creamed layer. Combine pudding mix with milk; beat with electric mixer on slow speed for 2 minutes. Pour over top of bananas. Spread remaining half of whipped topping over all. Chill until serving time; refrigerate leftovers. Makes 16 servings.  Note: Put two or three slices of banana over top of each serving to “dress-it-up” if you wish.


Thought for the Day: The trouble with bucket seats is that everyone doesn’t have the same size bucket.

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