Sunday, August 24, 2014

Meatless Monday: A Banana Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

I had bought a bunch of bananas because guests were coming and I thought fresh fruit would come in handy for snacking, but this bunch never turned bright yellow. I suspect they were perfectly ripe once and would have been quite tasty, but I missed that stage. And, before I noticed, they had become heavily splotched and mushy.

I knew, however, that bananas become more useful as they age (within reason), unlike other produce that goes by. In fact, there are so many uses for over-ripe bananas that it is a crime to waste them. 

Perhaps the easiest way to deal with overripe bananas is to peel them and use them in a smoothie. You can also pureĆ© them for use in DIY ice cream or frozen yogurt.  You can even peel them, seal them tightly in a ziplock bag, and freeze them for future use. 

We have been an enjoying an extraordinarily cool August, so I decided to make banana muffins. I turned to a favorite recipe from the very first cookbook I acquired — The Young People’s Gas Cookbook [as in cooking with gas, not cooking to cause gas]. 

In the ’60s, our local gas company embarked on a campaign to encourage current and future homemakers to cook using gas ovens and ranges. They made it easy for Girl Scouts to earn their cooking badge by offering cooking classes in their test kitchen, equipped with state of the art gas appliances. The entire troop took four classes together, and to earn her badge, each girl would prepare meals based on recipes in the cookbook for her family and practice and commit to memory a variety of cooking skills from boiling to braising.  

In my case, the “Banana Tea Muffins” were a hit, the “Eggs a la King” not so much [Yes, these many years later I still remember how that dish went over with my dad.] There was a test on week four! I don’t remember the test, but I received my badge, so I must have passed!

Following is the original recipe.

  • 1 3/4 cup sifted flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/3 cup melted shortening
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and sugar into mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix together beaten eggs, shortening, and mashed banana. Add to dry ingredients, mixing only enough to dampen all flour. Turn into well greased muffin pans and bake in 400° F oven about 20 minutes, or until done. Makes 16 small muffins.

Banana Tea Muffins for Modern Times

I have updated the recipe a bit for more modern times. Here are my changes:
  • Substitute 1/3 cup NON GMO canola oil (or other light tasting oil) for the melted shortening.
  • For 3/4 cup of the white flour, substitute whole wheat flour, or 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup almond meal.
  • Cut the salt to 1/2 tsp.
  • Make 12 muffins instead of 16.
  • Check for doneness at 18 minutes.

Note that the muffins may seem small by today’s standards.

These Banana Tea Muffins have a marvelously crunchy top. I bet you can’t eat just one. 

Happy Monday. Have a great week!

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

1 comment:

  1. Elaine, I did earn my badge this way. Ironically, I went to the gas cooking class and then went home and used an electric stove and oven. I particularly liked the "goodies" they gave us to take home. Thanks for bringing back a wonderful memory! Becca