The time is ripe: banana sweet treats
Can’t say no to a ’nana? You’re in good company. Australians eat around 5 million bananas every single day. While every day is a good day for a banana, this coming Saturday is a red-letter day for our favourite yellow fruit. Why? May 1 is National Banana Day.
National Banana Day was launched in 2019 to support our indefatigable banana growers. The Australian banana farming industry is vast, with more than 12,000 growers across New South Wales, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. The tropical banana-growing regions of northern Queensland, particularly Tully and Innisfail, produce more than 90 percent of the nation’s bananas.
This National Banana Day, it’s more important than ever to show your support, as our banana farmers have been doing it particularly tough. Along with labour shortages, growers have also had to contend with cyclones, floods and plant disease. So this Saturday, pick up some extra bananas at the supermarket, greengrocer or farmers’ market, and use them to make a few delectable banana-based treats. We’ve got some inspiration for you here and here, and we’ve also shared some more recipe ideas below. Go bananas, people!
Bananas aren’t just great to cook with and nosh on; they also offer a wide range of nutritional benefits. They’re packed with natural carbohydrates, vitamin B6 and potassium, making them ideal for beating muscle fatigue and boosting brain function. They also provide 15 percent of your daily B6, which is vital for nerve function, and are high in fibre. Plus, since they’re low GI, bananas are the perfect snack to give you long-lasting energy.
5 quick banana facts
1. There are more than 500 varieties of bananas, but the most commonly grown in Australia are Cavendish and Lady Fingers.
2. At over 10,000 years old, bananas are the world’s oldest fruit – that’s about five times older than the Colosseum in Italy or the Parthenon in Greece.
3. Bananas are actually a berry, botanically speaking. (To make things even more confusing, strawberries and raspberries aren’t really berries – they come from the rose family.)
4. In 2016, UK banana enthusiast Andrew Lawrence finished the London Marathon in two hours, 47 minutes and 41 seconds while dressed in a banana costume, becoming the fastest runner to complete a marathon dressed as a fruit. #squadgoals
5. Bananas are always bent due to a phenomenon known as geotropism – once developed, instead of growing towards the ground, bananas turn towards the sun.
Find out more about bananas, including their health benefits, as well as a range of recipes, at australianbananas.com.au
Vegan banana & peanut butter pancakes
A recipe from Pop Up Girl
Makes 6 pancakes
1 ripe banana
2 tbsp peanut butter
150ml Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond milk
3 tbsp vegan pea protein powder
4 tbsp flour
1 pinch salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
½ tsp vanilla essence
Maple syrup, banana slices and crushed peanuts to garnish
1. In a food processor, blend banana, peanut butter, vanilla and almond milk until smooth.
2. Mix flour, salt, bicarbonate soda, baking powder and vegan pea protein powder.
3. Add flour mix by the spoonful, mix until smooth. You want the dough gooey rather than too liquid. If the dough is too liquid, add some flour. If it’s too thick, add more almond milk.
4. Heat a pan, grease with sunflower oil. Use 3-4 tablespoons of dough per pancake. Cook each pancake for 1-2 minutes per side. When it starts to rise and bubble, flip carefully.
5. Garnish the pancakes with maple syrup, banana slices and crushed peanuts.
Classic banana bread with maple cream cheese spread
A recipe from Australian Bananas
125g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup golden syrup
4 Cavendish bananas, mashed (2 cups)
1¾ cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ cup walnuts, almonds or pecans, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the maple cream cheese spread:
250g cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
¼ cup maple syrup
Sliced Cavendish or Ducasse bananas and extra maple syrup, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 160°C fan forced. Grease and line a 6cm-deep, 10cm x 21cm loaf pan.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and golden syrup with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.
3. Stir in the banana. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon over the banana mixture. Stir to combine. Fold in your chosen nuts.
4. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack. Slice and serve as is or follow the next step to make the maple cream cheese spread.
5. For the spread, beat cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add the maple syrup and beat until well combined. Serve banana bread toasted and spread with maple cream cheese spread, sliced banana and a drizzle of maple syrup.