Go bananas for some bread
They are a nutritious staple in most home kitchens. But nothing looks sadder than a bunch of mottled brown bananas lounging in a fruit bowl. Other fruit such as pears, apples and grapes are more clear- cut. They are either ripe or not ripe.
Bananas provide a kaleidoscope of tastes, textures and sweetness as they travel along their journey from green to brown. I only buy bananas with a green hue on the peel. Within a day the skin turns daffodil yellow while the flavour changes from a slightly green- pepper taste to the perfect snacking sweetness.
Once they overstay their welcome in the fruit bowl, emitting a gas known as ethylene that accelerates the ripening of other fruits in close proximity, I watch them as one would any nemesis. It is a race against time to consume them before those ungainly brown specks appear. The taste becomes almost too sweet, the texture spongy.
As they teeter on the precipice, I often decide to let them go. Happily, this doesn’t mean throwing them in the bin, it just means removing them from sight – for the sake of good kitchen karma.
For me, a banana past its best heralds the delicious aroma of a freshly baked loaf of banana bread. If I don’t have the time or inclination to bake, I transfer overripe bananas to the freezer. They defrost in no time and can be used for banana bread at a later date ( once defrosted, the banana flesh is soft and loose and much easier to incorporate into a batter by hand).
It is the caramelisation on the crust of a banana bread that I love most. Without it, it is just cake.
This chocolatey version is totally irresistible and doubles as a delicious dessert served with ice cream ( serve with some extra melted chocolate sauce).
If you want to use up a large number of overripe bananas, simply double the recipe accordingly and add another 10 minutes to the baking time if you are using a 2lb loaf tin.