Waste not, want not! Don't throw away those overripe bananas! Bake some banana bread, it's an easy recipe.
The only thing better than the flavor is the wonderful aroma of banana bread that will fill your kitchen as you bake.
We all have good intentions of eating all the fresh fruit we buy.
If you're on a budget, fresh produce can be expensive. Bananas are usually one of the lowest cost fresh fruits you can buy, and they're good for you, too!
Our family enjoys them, but occasionally, we'll end up with a few that hung out on the counter for a little too long that begin to freckle just a little too much to eat fresh. I try to buy only what we'll use within the week to avoid waste, but for some reason my kids will inexplicably boycott a particular fruit that week and it goes uneaten. The bananas that hang out on my banana holder a little too long are destined to be tossed into a smoothie, or used to bake a family favorite: banana bread.
The perfect banana for banana bread
An even better bargain: buy the marked down over ripe bananas at the grocery store
You'll need 2-3 bananas for this recipe, depending of course on the size of your bananas. The recipe calls for 1 cup of mashed banana. Using a little extra is fine, but do not use less or your batter won't have enough moisture.
My market regularly will sell their over ripe bananas for .99 for a bag full, or .19 a pound.
Baking multiple loaves of bread is always a good idea and will save you money, as it costs the same to run the oven with one loaf in there as it costs to bake four at a time. So go ahead, buy those "banana bread" bunches of bananas and plan to bake up several at once later in the day if you rarely have more than one over ripe one on hand.
You can also freeze your ripe bananas for future baking if you don't have enough to bake a loaf. Just save them up in your freezer by wrapping them well in aluminum foil - peel and all. The peel will go all black when you freeze them, but the banana inside will be fine to use. When you're ready to use them in your baking, let them defrost for ten minutes, then just peel, place the banana pulp in a bowl to finish thawing and proceed with your recipe.
These loaves of banana bread freeze wonderfully, so I often do bake more than one at a time. You can simply pull one from the freezer to serve up for breakfast a few days, weeks or even a few months later.
This is the basic recipe for banana bread. If you'd like, you can add more or less of different nuts, perhaps some chocolate chips or candied cherries. A simple glaze icing could also be added to the cooled down loaf. Feel free to experiment, I'm using the basic recipe today.
You'll need a 8 x 4 x 2 inch loaf pan. Prepare your pan by lightly greaseing the bottom and halfway up the sides. As it bakes, it will rise but not catch onto the sides if you grease it all the way up, so to avoid a huge mountain in the middle, don't grease the entire way up the side of the pan. You want to give it a little something to hold onto as it bakes. As it becomes done, it will pull away from the side a bit and won't get stuck in there.
Preheat your oven to 350 and position your oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Place the following in your mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Do scrape the sides of the bowl down a few times while beating to be sure it's evenly mixed:
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
Next add to your mixing bowl, incorporating well:
2 tablespoons of Milk
You'll need 2-3 ripe bananas, enough to measure 1 cup when well mashed in a bowl with a fork. Add this to your mixing bowl and mix well.
Combine the following and add to your mixing bowl 1/3 at a time to incorporate well:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Once your batter is ready, fold in 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts. You can reserve a few if you'd like to sprinkle some on top as decoration, but I usually just mix them all in.
Your batter will be thick. Put it in your prepared pan. To get it even in the pan I just drop it 6-8 inches a few times and give it a spin on the counter top to move more of the batter into the corners of the pan. This also helps to avoid a huge peak in the middle of your loaf.
Bake for 60 - 65 minutes. Test by by inserting a wooden pick in the middle of the loaf, when done, it should pull out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about ten minutes, then remove and continue cooling on your wire rack.
This is yummy warm, but the flavors will further develop and it will slice better if you bake it the day before and wrap it in plastic wrap overnight.
To freeze, double wrap in plastic and then again in foil.