Have I mentioned yet that I love bananas? They are so awesome for so many things! Yes true, they can be calorie dense, but when you consider alternatives, and the many ways in which bananas can help you, it is hard to say that they are not awesome in their own right. They have a place in my heart.
Did you know there is an entire website devoted specifically to bananas? It’s called bananasweb.com. Let’s take a look at some benefits/uses for bananas that the site lists:
Constipation and Diarrhea
For the specifics, you can visit the site using this link (there was just too much info to copy all of it to my post) :
Now let’s look at the nutrition facts (from http://www.chiquitabananas.com/):
Basically speaking, you can see that bananas are a good source of fiber, and contain no fat or cholesterol per serving. You can also see however, that there is a high sugar content (19g per serving) so you do want to keep portions under control.
Now let’s take a look at a historical timeline for bananas (also from bananasweb.com):
Bananas have apparently originated in Malaysia
Bananas are cited in Buddhist texts
Alexander the Great’s army recorded for the first time in history the existence of banana crops in the indian valleys. Alexander is also credited for bringing the banana from India to the western nations.
Antonius Musa – the personal doctor of the then Roman emperor Octavius Augustus – was credited for promoting cultivation of the exotic African fruit from 63 to 14 B.C.
Organized banana plantations have been recorded in China
Islamic conquerors helped bananas make their way to Madagascar, and then spread to the African mainland by vegetative propagation. Here in Africa many genetic mutations occurred, that produced different species of bananas. Portuguese traders then spread the fruit from Africa to the Canary Islands
The Portuguese and the Spanish are credited for bringing bananas to the Carribean and to America. According to Spanish history, Friar Tomas de Berlanga brought the first banana root stocks to the Western Hemisphere. A Chinese variety was sent to England, where it was named “Cavendish” after the Duke of Devonshire’s family. This variety and its sub-groups account for much of the commercial banana cultivation. Even though several other varieties are now cultivated for commercial purpose, they only account for about 20 of 300 different species.
Its Guinean native name – “banema” – which became “banana” in English, was first found in print
The yellow sweet banana is a mutant strain of the green and red cooking bananas, discovered in 1836 by Jamaican Jean Francois Poujot. He found that in his plantations, one plant was bearing yellow fruits rather than red or green. Upon tasting the new discovery, he found it to be sweet in its raw state, without the need for cooking. He quickly began cultivating this sweet variety.
Bananas are introduced to American families as an exotic dessert. From here it will grow and become a staple fruit. They were officially introduced to the American public at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Each banana was wrapped in foil and sold for10 cents.
Bananas are now considered a commodity and are traded by large companies. The UnitedFruit Company is credited for being of the first to commercialize bananas Thanks to new transport technologies such as refrigeration, bananas have becomewidespread in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, bananas grow in most tropical andsubtropical regions with the main commercial producers including Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil and Ecuador.
Finally, let’s take a look at some great banana recipes!!
Obviously, you can add bananas to fruit salads, combine with peanut butter, etc and make a sandwich, OR add fresh or frozen to a smoothie!
A couple smoothie ideas!! (from http://www.chiquitabananas.com/)
Best Creamy Peanut Butter Chiquita Banana Smoothie Recipe
Quick Chiquita Banana Berry Smoothie Recipe
2 whole Chiquita Bananas (best with brown flecks on peel)
2 cups Ice
1 cup Milk OR Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 cup Blackberries
1/2 cup Blueberries
1/2 cup Raspberries
2 whole Strawberries
Pour all ingredients in blender pouring ice in last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until smoothie thickens.
Some other great banana recipes:
Moist Chiquita Banana Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe
4 oz. 70% or 62% cacao Chocolate baking bar
1 1/4 cup Cake flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 whole very ripe Chiquita Bananas (peel should have brown flecks), roughly mashed
1 cup Granulated sugar
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Canola oil
2 Tbsp. Red food coloring
3/4 cup low-fat Buttermilk
8 oz. Cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. Milk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
3 cups Powdered sugar, sifted, or less to taste
1 whole ripe Chiquita Banana, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper or foil cups.
For the Muffins:
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, break chocolate into small pieces and melt in the microwave on high power for 45 seconds. Stir. If un-melted pieces remain, continue microwaving and stirring the chocolate in ten-second intervals until it is all melted and smooth; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, combine 2 whole bananas, granulated sugar, eggs and canola oil. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Carefully beat in melted chocolate and red food coloring. Gradually blend in flour mixture alternating with buttermilk. Divide batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into one of the center muffins comes out clean. Cool cupcakes to room temperature.
For the Frosting:
Beat cream cheese in a medium mixer bowl until light and creamy. Add milk and vanilla. Gradually blend in powdered sugar to desired level of sweetness and beat until light and fluffy. Frost cooled cupcakes and top each with diced whole banana. Serve immediately. (If you do not plan to serve the cupcakes immediately, refrigerate after frosting. When ready to serve top with the diced banana, pressing lightly into the frosting.)
Tip: Use an ice cream scooper for an easy way to fill muffin cups.
Almost No Fat Banana Bread (from http://www.allrecipes.com/)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 55 Minutes Ready In: 1 Hour 5 Minutes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup banana, mashed
- 1/4 cup applesauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add egg whites, bananas and applesauce; stir just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Turn out onto wire rack and allow to cool before slicing.
Last but not least…Banana ice cream!!
Here is a great recipe from a blog I follow, http://www.plainchicken.com/:
Frozen Banana Ice Cream
4 large very ripe bananas
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp Nutella
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp chocolate chips
2-3 crushed Oreos or Nutter Butters or any other cookie
Peel bananas and slice into 1/2 inch pieces. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Place the banana slices in a food processor. Puree banana slices, scraping down the bowl as needed, until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Mix in any of the optional add-ins desired and puree. Serve immediately for soft-serve ice cream or place in the freezer for a few hours for a harder ice cream.
Well that concludes my ode to bananas for the day…hope I helped to convince you of how awesome bananas really are!!!