Everyone loves bananas – even the fussiest of toddler will chomp on a ‘narna’ when every other food under the sun has been rejected. But often before you can even say ‘OK, then have a banana instead,’ the once yellow bunch that you picked out at the supermarket just days ago has crossed to the other side of ripe in the fruit bowl. Here are 10 great ideas for using up your old bananas and how to keep them fresher for longer.
1) Freeze them to make banana pops
Banana pops even beat normal bananas as toddler snacks because they taste like banana ice-cream when frozen! Simply peel your very ripe bananas, cut them in half (sideways, not lengthways), wrap them in cling wrap and freeze. Yum!
2) Bake with them
Overripe bananas are the best for baking cakes, muffins, biscuits and more, because the fruit is super sweet and makes a gooey burst of yum in baked goods. Try:
3) Coat them in chocolate
For a chocolatey banana treat that will delight kids try choc-coated “bananas in pyjamas”. You could also mush up overripe bananas into fun cookie cutter shapes, pour melted chocolate over it and freeze. Simply pop the chocolate-coated banana shapes out and serve – cute!
4) Whizz them in a shake
No one notices brown bananas when they’ve been whizzed up with milk, ice-cream and honey in a milkshake or smoothie. Rather than toss your brown bananas out, try these smoothie ideas for an after-school treat:
5) Make One ingredient ice-cream
While you’ve got the blender out, whizz any leftover bananas and store the mixture in the freezer to make one ingredient ice-cream. Delicious.
6) Serve on cereal
Drizzled in honey, or sprinkled with a little sugar, overripe bananas on cereal are the best and a nutritious start to the day.
7) Make a banana and honey sandwich
Squish ripe bananas into brown bread with honey for an energy boosting lunch, or combine with crunchy peanut butter on white bread. Either way, yum!
8) Flip banana pancakes
Have your kids tried banana pancakes? Better than ordinary pancakes and divine when drizzled in caramel sauce. Try: Banana pancakes with caramel sauce.
9) Serve them for dessert
Bananas fried in a little flour and topped with flavoured topping make an easy and crowd-pleasing dessert. Better yet, bake bananas in brown sugar for 20 minutes in the oven and coat with shredded coconut for a crunchy, banana-caramel sweet treat.
10) Make dehydrated banana chips
Dried banana slices are healthy, tasty and great snack foods. You can make your own by slicing bananas and laying them on a wire baking rack. Bake very low (about 115°C) for about 8 hours. You will need to leave the oven door slightly open by using a wooden spoon to make a gap so that air will circulate. DO NOT USE THE FAN. Fan-forcing makes the banana slices burn rather than dehydrate. Please note these cooking times are approximate and you will need to monitor the banana chips while they are dehydrating as ovens vary in temperature, as do bananas in moisture content.
Top tips for fresher bananas
- Separate bananas from the bunch and they will last longer.
- Don’t put bananas on the fruit bowl with other fruit and vegetables as being near these will speed up the ripening process.
- Unwrap bananas from any packaging or plastic as this will eliminate ethylene gas from building up around the bananas which causes them to ripen quickly.
- Store bananas in the refrigerator only when ripe. Refrigeration slows down the ripening process, but the bananas have to be ripe already otherwise they won’t ripen or sweeten in the fridge.
- Freeze ripe bananas – they won’t lose their nutritional value and can be used in smoothies or as a snack on their own.