Bananas provide potassium, which may protect against high blood pressure and other diseases.
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- Bananas are available year-round at low prices. Yellow bananas are the most common and can be eaten at several stages of ripeness. Red bananas are shorter, plumper, and only eaten when ripe. Plantains are related to bananas but are starchy, like root vegetables. They are usually cooked rather than eaten raw.
- Choose bananas according to the ripeness desired. As they ripen, the skin color changes from green to yellow to speckled with brown to more brown or black. The flesh becomes softer and more flavorful.
1 pound = 3 medium bananas (7 to 8 inches) = 2 to 2½ cups sliced = 1 1/3 cups mashed
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- Bananas are usually stored at room temperature. They continue to ripen after harvest. The warmer the temperature, the faster they ripen.
- To speed ripening, place in a closed paper bag in a warm area. Adding a ripe apple can speed the process. Check daily.
- To slow ripening, choose a cool spot or refrigerate. Ripe bananas can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The skin may turn black but the flesh will be fine.
- Freeze bananas for longer storage.
- In their skin – Use within 2 months for best quality. Thaw in refrigerator. Squeeze banana from the skin.
- Peeled – Use within 4 to 6 months for best quality. Package as chunks or mashed in measured amounts. Use frozen or thawed
More about Bananas
- When bananas are peeled or cut, the flesh starts to brown. Browned bananas might not look attractive but they are safe to eat. Reduce browning by:
- Peeling or cutting just before using.
- Dipping in fruit juice that is acidic or high in vitamin C, such as lemon, lime, orange or pineapple.
- Use banana to replace egg in baked goods: ¼ cup mashed banana (about ½ banana) = 1 egg
- Bananas can also substitute for up to half of the fat in baked goods. They will add a banana flavor and some sweetness.
- Frozen banana chunks are great for smoothies.
Enjoy Bananas with Food Hero Recipes
When kids help make healthy food, they are more likely to try it. Show kids how to:
- peel bananas. Try starting at the end away from the stem. The skin is less fibrous and easier to pull apart.
- mash bananas with a fork. A flat dish or plate might make mashing easier.