In Season: Bananas, Year-Round

Although typically not grown in the United States, bananas are one of those fruits that are grown somewhere in the world year-round. Of course, this makes them extremely popular. It is said that most Americans consume about 30 pounds' worth of bananas in a year. That is a lot of fruit!

I know that I don’t need to talk up the banana to most of you. There is no need to explain the sweet flavor, the creamy texture, or marvel at self-contained nature of this fruit in its seemingly indestructible skin. But let’s talk about just what to do with bananas besides eating them out of hand.

Bananas are one of those fruits that can ripen entirely once picked. A green banana is starchy and can be steamed or fried like a plantain. Sticky sweet, and almost mushy, a brown, ripe banana is wonderful baked into quick breads, muffins, or mixed into pancake batter. But what about a standard, yellow banana? Well, I like to bake them.

Sliced in half, sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar and some spicy ground ginger, doused in melted butter and a little maple syrup, baked bananas are the perfect weekend breakfast treat. They are warm, filling and sweet, and make the ideal accompaniment to a pile of French toast, or a bowl of oatmeal. If you’re looking for a little something special, try them this weekend!

Baked Bananas

3 bananas, cut in half, lengthwise, then in half, crosswise
2 tablespoons butter, melted
juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons maple syrup
pinch of salt.

Preheat oven to 350°. In a shallow baking dish, mix melted butter and lemon juice. Place banana slices in the pan, turning to coat completely in butter mixture.

In a small bowl, make a paste out of the brown sugar, ginger, maple syrup, and salt. Divide paste evenly over bananas. Bake for about 20 minutes. If bananas are not browned enough, place under the broiler for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Remove from oven, spoon bananas with a bit of the liquid onto individual plates, and serve.

 

Adrienne Kane is a writer and photographer. She is the author of a memoir, Cooking and Screaming, and the food blog, nosheteria.com.

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