Bananas

If you go ape over bananas, you're not alone. Grown worldwide in tropical climates, bananas sold in North America are imported mainly from Central and South America. Unlike most fruit, bananas actually taste better when allowed to ripen off the plant. That's why they are picked and shipped while still green. Bananas are good source of fibre, potassium and vitamin C.

Varieties

  • Although there are hundreds of banana varieties, the yellow Cavendish is the most common.

Availability

  • Bananas are harvested every day of the year so it's no surprise that they are never out of season.

Purchasing

  • Select bananas with plump, evenly coloured light green to yellow skins. Avoid any with brown splotches or split skins. Bananas with green tips or ridges need further ripening at home.

Storage

  • To ripen bananas, store them at room temperature. Placing several in an open paper bag ripens them more quickly.
  • Refrigerate ripe bananas for several days. Although the peels turn brown, the fruit remains unchanged.
  • Freeze mashed bananas for up to 6 months, stirring in 1 teaspoon lemon juice for each banana to prevent browning.

Preparation / Cooking

  • Use firm, ripe bananas for slicing, cooking and mixing with other fruit.
  • Soft, overripe bananas are best for mashing and using in baked breads and muffins.
  • Once peeled, use bananas immediately as they darken when exposed to air. To prevent discolouration, dip in a mixture of lemon juice and water.
  • 1 lb bananas is equal to:
    • 3 medium bananas
    • 2 cups sliced
    • 1 ½ cups diced
    • 1 cup mashed

Tips

  • Perk up a smoothie or shake by adding a sliced banana to the blender.
  • Toss banana slices or chunks into your favourite fruit salad.
  • Sneak some sliced bananas inside a peanut butter sandwich.
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