Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bananas: The Healthy Snack Alternative

Why are bananas so good for you?

Bananas are high in potassium and low in sodium making them the ideal healthy fruit. Bananas are great for reducing depression, achieving bone and intestinal health, and for regulating high blood pressure.

How to Purchase Bananas

When shopping for bananas at your local grocery store or farmers market, you will notice that they usually have green or yellow peels. The bananas with green peels are not quite ripe but the bananas with yellow peels are ripe and ready to eat. If you are looking to eat your fruit within 1-3 days, buy the yellow ones. If you are looking to eat your fruit in 3-5 days, then you will want to purchase the green ones.

Storing Bananas
Bananas are fragile and need to be stored properly. If you have purchased your bananas in a cellophane bag over-wrap, you need to remove the wrap as soon as possible. You will want to avoid storing them in the refrigerator, as this helps to speed up the ripening process. I hang my bananas from a wooden banana tree to keep them from getting bruised.

You can easily freeze bananas, as they will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Here are 2 ways that you can freeze them.

1. Freeze them with the peels on and in a zipper close bag.

2. Remove them from their peels and sprinkle them with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning, then place them in a zipper close bag.

You can do a lot with bananas, besides just using them for a healthy snack. Here are 2 of my favorite recipes.

Banana Mango Smoothie
1 c. cubed peeled ripe mango
3/4 c. sliced ripe banana
2/3 c. milk
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all of the above ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately.

Banana Bread
1 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 c. shortening
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 c. sour milk
3 bananas, mashed

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until blended. Pour mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Shelly Hill is a mother and grandmother living in Pennsylvania who enjoys cooking and baking. You can visit Shelly's popular foodie blog called Shakin 'N Bakin in the Kitchen at for free menu ideas, cooking tips and recipes.

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