Unless you loathe bananas (like my oldest), you are bound to, at some point, have a few rotten ones on your counter (you should never store them in the fridge).
I was reminded about how versatile a product a rotten banana is the other week when I was in the Florida Keys and ordered a banana-orange-mango smoothie at a local health food store. The woman took a bag of frozen banana pieces out of the freezer and used them instead of ice. Of course!
That just got me thinking of all the ways we can use our old bananas instead of throwing them out:
1.Banana Muffins. My littlest used to call them happy cakes.
2. Banana-Coconut Bread. This quick-and-easy recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
3. Banana Cake. Ummm...YUM.
4. Fresh smoothies. Put a banana in a blender and add all sorts of other good things--ice (unless you have frozen bananas), a liquid of some sort, and any other fruit you wish. It's hard to go wrong with a frozen smoothie.
5. Frozen bananas for smoothies. Cut them up, put them on a baking tray, and freeze them. When they are frozen, toss them into a plastic bag or jar.
6. Chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. Melt some chocolate chips (organic, of course) and dip the cut-up bananas in the warm chocolate. Then freeze the chocolate-dipped bits on a baking tray. Once frozen, toss them into a plastic bag or jar. Adding some crushed peanuts is a plus.
7. Bananas Foster. For every banana, melt a tablespoon of butter. Slice the bananas up and cook the slices in the butter, then add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar for each banana. Eat plain or on top of ice cream. Add some coconut on top if you wish. Cinnamon if you feel like it. Traditionally, the recipes call for rum, but no rum in my house, so sorry. You don't need it anyway!
8. Banana icing. See Banana Cake recipe.
9. Feed the birds, butterflies, and babies. If you have a baby around, mash up the banana and feed it to her. If there are no babies near, you can put the bananas outside for the birds and butterflies to eat (provided it's bird and butterfly season).
10. If all else fails, throw them on the compost pile!
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com