Bananas are the most popular fresh fruit in the United States. They have a peel that comes off easily, they ripen after they've been picked, there is a generous supply all year, and they are inexpensive.
Bananas have both a high amount of carbohydrates as well as potassium, which also makes them the fruit of choice for many athletes. Source: Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, 1992
Bananas: Rich in Nutrients
- Fat free.
- Cholesterol free.
- Rich in potassium.
- High in fiber.
- High in iron.
- Gives flagging energy levels a boost.
- Sugars are all natural.
Did you know? The average American eats 12kg of bananas every year, and the average Australian eats almost 15kg of bananas every year.
Bananas Aid Detox
Bananas strengthen and soothe the stomach while offering plenty of minerals needed for optimal cleansing. The mineral potassium, plentiful in bananas, helps regulate fluid in your body and reduces fluid buildup in tissues. Excess fluid in the tissues means more stored toxins. Bananas also have antibiotic activity to help kill harmful bacteria residing in the intestines.
The very popular yellow banana of Cavendish is the banana we see in grocery stores. However, Plantains, Finger Bananas and Red Bananas are also popular varieties. Most have a soft texture when ripe.
Avoid bananas with brown spots that seem very soft. Select those bananas with a nice color, specific for the variety. Choose fruit that is firm and free of bruises. Best eating quality has been reached when the solid yellow skin color is speckled with brown. Bananas with green tips or with practically no yellow color have not developed their full flavor. Bananas are overripe when they have a strong odor.
Store bananas at room temperature. To ripen bananas quickly, place them in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight. The two will work together to speed each other's ripening. As bananas ripen, the starch in the fruit turns to sugar. Therefore, the riper the banana the sweeter it will taste.
Bananas get over-ripe on you sometimes? Don't toss them! Place them in your freezer, skins and all. They will turn black, but they work well this way for baking. To use for baking, remove them from the freezer, place on a plate for about half-an-hour. Then split the skins and they come right out -- and you won't even need to mash them! Try it, it works!
When your bananas have turned the color you want, but you can't use them right away, store them in your refrigerator. The skin will darken, but the bananas will stay fresh for up to two weeks.
Sweet varieties are eaten out of hand and range in size and color dramatically. Cooking varieties, called plaintains, are not sweet at all, very firm and starchy.
Quite literally, the banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. For example, if your kids have a tough time falling asleep, give them a banana. Like a cup of warm milk, a banana is a sleep enhancer.
Banana Blossom is the flower that grows at the end of a banana cluster, which is both edible and a frequent ingredient in Southeast Asian and Indian cooking. It can be used in soups, salads, stews and curries and possess a slightly bitter flavor, most likened to artichoke.
- If you want a quick fix for flagging energy levels, there is no better snack than a banana. Research has proven that just 2 bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.
- Energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions making it a must to add to your daily diet.
Suggested Uses for Bananas
Toast whole grain bread, bagel or English muffin and serve with peanut butter - for an added nutrition boost, add banana slices or raisins.
Peanut Butter Burrito: Easy to fix and healthy too! Take a large-size soft tortilla, spread peanut butter over one side. Peel and insert a banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon and roll up.
Jell-O Banana Split Cups: To one serving of Jell-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding, stir in banana slices, a dollop of fat free Cool Whip Whipped Topping and any sundae topping.
Creamy Banana Whip and Sticks
Mash one banana in small bowl with fork. Gently stir in 2-tablespoons thawed Cool Whip. Serve with eight graham honey sticks. Makes one serving.
Frozen Chocolate Bananas
This is great and healthful summer time treat for kids of all ages. You can't get much healthier than a banana and we all know chocolate can be good for you, too.
4 large bananas, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
3/4 cup light hot fudge topping
Freeze bananas thoroughly. Dip in topping and place in freezer until topping is firm. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings. Serving size: 1 Frozen Chocolate Banana.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories 166, fat 2.0g, cholesterol 0mg, protein 4.2g, carbohydrates 92.9g, fiber 10.8g, sugar 75.5g, sodium 63mg. Dietary Exchanges: Fruit: 4.2, Sugar: 1.5
Banana Nut Smoothie
2 bananas, ripe
2 cups pineapple juice
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoon plain yogurt
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ice cubes Nutmeg
Combine all ingredients, except nutmeg, in blender. Cover and run on high until smooth and well-blended. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 177, Total Fat 5g, Calories from Fat 23%, Cholesterol 0mg, Fiber 2g, Sodium 41mg.
Old-Fashioned Plain Banana Smoothie
1 banana, cut into pieces
1/2 cup natural yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup ice cubes
Blend all ingredients till creamy and serve immediately. Servings: 1 cup.
Low Calorie Banana Milk Shake
3/4 cup water
4 ice cubes
1/4 cup dried milk, non-fat
Combine all ingredients in electric blender. Cover and blend on high speed until thick and smooth. For extra creaminess, you can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup fat free Cool Whip.
Banana Nut Shake
4 pitted dates (soaked for at least half an hour)
1/2 cup almonds
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Add water until desired consistency is reached.
Banana Fruit Pops
4 bananas, sliced
1-1/4 cup fruit juice (such as orange, pineapple, cranberry, apricot or grape)
8 popsicle sticks
Place bananas and fruit juice of your choice in container of an electric blender. Cover and blend on high speed until smooth. Divide mixture evenly among six to eight 4-ounce paper or plastic cups. Place in freezer and when partially frozen place a popsicle stick in center of each cup. Freeze until firm. Let stand at room temperature for five minutes before removing cups and serving.
Banana Berry Sorbet
Cut 3 large ripe bananas into chunks and freeze. Transfer to food processor with 1-1/2 cup frozen strawberries and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Puree until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.
"There is nothing so delicious as a banana". --Sir Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
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