Go bananas for some bread

The Irish Times Magazine - - FOOD -

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.

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