How to Save a Dying Banana

The sad fate of a forgotten banana in our apartment

The sad fate of a forgotten banana in our apartment

Yes, I realize what you’re thinking. Bananas don’t grow in Brooklyn. So occasionally I slip a bit. I’m not perfect. See I ADMIT it! Bananas are just perfect little breakfast/snack foods. Something I can grab as I’m  running late to work and eat on my walk to the subway. So occasionally I get the craving for a banana and buy a bunch at the Park Slope Food Coop. I prefer my bananas firm and a little on the unripe side, so usually go for the ones that are still a bit green on the outside. I make sure to only purchase 4 or 5 so we eat them in time. But as you can see, sometimes my best intentions fail.

I blame my husband for uneaten fruit. Our fruit basket sits on the kitchen table, in the back side of our kitchen. Unless I put a piece of fruit in his hand, he won’t even notice it. This would be understandable if he wasn’t blind to ALL of our food. All too frequently I’m approached with the same question. “Is there anything for [lunch/dinner/snack/to eat]?” I rattle off a number of things–left overs, cheeses, hummus, yogurt, etc, etc, etc that he’s somehow never able to locate in the refrigerator. Yet, I watch as he moves some or all of these items to get to his beers in the back of the fridge. Perplexing, isn’t it?

But back to my sad lonely bananas. Luckily, there’s an easy way to revive bananas from death’s doorstep. It might even be the reason that Banana Bread was invented. Banana bread works best with super ripe banana puree, folded into a batter of eggs, flour, butter and other ingredients. I was more excited than ever to bake banana bread this week. Why? Because in addition to having the ability to give my black bananas a better life, it would be my first time using my Born Again oven.

Now you’re really thinking I’m crazy. Really…just now? After living in this apartment for just over a year, I finally broke down and bought a $5 oven thermometer. It was more laziness over expense. And what did I learn? My oven runs about 50° lower than the dial claims. All of a sudden, life became clear. That’s why it takes me 40 minutes to bake a 25 minute cupcake recipe, or it took 5 hours to roast a chicken as opposed to the 3 hour claim. Trust me, when you’re getting to those longer cooking times and have an apartment full of guests waiting, a few hours really matters!

So all ready to bake with my black bananas and born again oven…bu I couldn’t just make ordinary banana bread. That’s so not me. Plus, truth be told, I’m not the biggest banana fan, hence why I like the firm, unripe ones with less banana flavor. Hmm…I used to love chocolate banana ice cream shakes as a kid. And everything’s better with peanut butter. So I opted for a Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter bread. No, breads are big and I like individualized goodies. So muffins. And thus, a recipe was born.

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Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Muffins (Makes about 14)

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 3/4 c mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips (I prefer dark chocolate!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray (or use cupcake liners, like I did). In a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until well mixed. Add applesauce, mashed banana and peanut butter, mixing well after each addition. Add flour mixture in 3-4 parts, making sure all flour is well blended between each addition. Stir in chocolate chips by hand with a rubber spatula.

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Using an ice cream scooper, fill muffin tin with full level scoops. Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out relatively clean (there will be some melted chocolate).

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5 comments on “How to Save a Dying Banana

  1. Jamie Dedes says:

    Looks good. One of these times I’ll try to convert it to vegan and gluten-free. Thanks for including me in under related articles. – “You’ll Go Ape for Custardy Banana Ice Cream” etc.

    Happy day. Blog on … Brooklyn rocks! 😉 I’m a dislocated Brooklynite (Bay Ridge) living on the left coast.

  2. […] How to Save a Dying Banana (brooklynlocavore.wordpress.com) […]

  3. […] I’ve already admitted to cheating the locavore thing with a few bananas a week. It’s just so easy to grab on the go and really fills me up. If I have a bagel with cream cheese in the morning I’m usually not hungry again until mid afternoon. Somehow a tiny banana has a very similar effect on me. And then there are those days that I forget about the bananas, not in the mood, or whatever, and we end up with black, dying bananas. I personally prefer my bananas a little under ripened, with flecks of green still on its skin, so as soon as those brown spots begin to appear, I’m turned off. But I’m not going to just throw them away. That would be sacrilegious. They might be fair trade, but they’re not local and the only thing worse than not eating local is buying something from thousands of miles away and not eating it. So I make banana bread or some form of. […]

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