Bananas: Rich in Nutrients
Did you know? The average American eats 12kg of bananas every year, and the average Australian eats almost 15kg of bananas every year.
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.
Want travel-friendly bananas, or a camp fire snack that's totally healthy? How about packing you and your children's lunch with a healthy snack? Consider dried banana chips. They taste great - not too sweet; just right. They do contain coconut oil, but remember, coconut oil is NOT A BAD FOOD! Read more about it: Fab Food: Coconut Oil.
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.
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.
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.
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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