Catch up on shows with The Coast On Demand
Friday, September 14, 2012 3:26 PM
Pre-packed by Nature in their own biodegradable outers, bananas are a portable and nourishing pick-me-up or snack. They’re perfect for packed lunches, ideal for instantly banishing the mid-afternoon slump - much longer-lasting and more nutritious than a sugar-loaded biscuit or so-called energy booster drinks. For athletes they provide great sustained energy for training or workouts, and the clever cook can utilise them in a wide range of both sweet and savoury dishes and in baking.
Bananas are available year-round and it’s so versatile – eat it as it comes or slice it on dishes from cereals to salads and desserts or mash it and make it into a sandwich.
Health benefits: Bananas are rich in potassium, important in maintaining good blood pressure and heart function; they are also light in sodium, a further benefit for the heart. A source of fibre, they also encourage prebiotic bacteria in the gut, aiding absorption of calcium, as well as delivering vitamins (including B6 and C), minerals (including manganese and magnesium), carbohydrates, folate and other nutrients. Bananas have antioxidants, yielding the maximum benefit when eaten really ripe.
In the ripening process, process, starch is converted to sugars, so the riper a banana the softer and sweeter its flesh will be.
What we buy: All our bananas are imported – and while we are accustomed to bananas of a uniform size and shape, in the tropical countries where they are grown, they come in a range of different colours, sizes and shapes.
The most popular banana here is the big thick fleshed type (15cms or so and weighing around 125gm). Little “bobby bananas”, sold in bunches are an ideal size for school lunches and smaller appetites. The dinky “Lady Finger” variety is a sweeter fruit.
Look for fruit that is slightly green, firm and unblemished, with stems that don’t look “tired”; if they’ve been refrigerated incorrectly, they’ll have a dull appearance and a grey tinge. If you plan to freeze bananas for future use, choose the ripest (which are often at a bargain price), peel them, wrap in plastic whole or in chunks and pop in the freezer.
Generally bananas should be kept at room temperature. If you need to ripen them quickly, pop them in a brown paper bag – and add an apple to hurry things up. Don’t put unripe bananas in the fridge as the cold stops the ripening process, but ripe bananas can be put in the fridge. The skin will go black, but the flesh will be fine for a couple of weeks; bring them back up to room temperature before eating. It is possible to freeze bananas for up to two months – but they’ll only be useful to purée for baking and cooking as they’ll go mushy and discoloured. A little lemon juice may help limit discolouration.
Recipe - Banana and Palm Sugar Loaf with Lime Icing
A hint of the tropics with the caramel flavour of palm sugar in this delicious variation of an old friend. .
Friday, April 26, 2013
Welcome to Coast Kitchen, a place to share and enjoy recipes. The Coast ...
Friday, May 24, 2013
Dan Brown's new novel, Inferno, features renowned Harvard symbologist Robe ...
Friday, May 24, 2013
Listen for your chance to win! This week on Coast, we have TIME, Rod ...