Look up bananas and you’ll learn a lot, like I did. Botanically, bananas are, believe it or not, a berry, grown as a plant. They were first domesticated in Papua, New Guinea, about 5000 BCE and were known in the land of Israel in the 10th century. They are native to Indomalaya and Australia. High in potassium and pectin, magnesium and Vitamin C, they are a great weight loss food. However, diabetics should eat them with a meal and be aware that the fruit can raise blood sugar levels and they account for a high carbohydrate count. Here are some different ways to use them.
BANANA NUT PANCAKES
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium cut banana
1/4 cup chopped nuts
oil for frying
1. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sugar. Stir in egg, milk and oil and blend.
2. Add banana and nuts.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan. Drop batter by tablespoon into hot pan. Fry, then turn once and continue frying until golden brown.
MY BANANA SABRA DESSERT
2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup whipped cream
2 tbsp sabra
1 tsp semi-sweet grated chocolate
1 tbsp slivered almonds
1 tsp grated orange rind (optional)
1. Mash bananas in a bowl. Add whipped cream and sabra.
2. Spoon into serving glasses or dishes and freeze.
3. When ready to serve, sprinkle almonds, chocolate and orange rind on each glass or dish.
CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD PUDDING
1/2 loaf challah bread
1 cup non-dairy creamer
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a nine-inch round springform or cake pan.
2. Cut bread into one-inch pieces. Slice bananas.
3. In a bowl, beat eggs, non-dairy creamer and sugar. Stir in bread pieces and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for one hour, pressing down bread to absorb cream mixture.
4. Spoon mixture into baking pan. Cover and bake 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 45 minutes longer or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA MUFFINS
(36 mini muffins)
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tsp oil
1 cup mashed bananas
1 3/8 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line mini muffin pans with paper or other liners.
2. In a bowl, combine sugar, oil, bananas and eggs and mix thoroughly.
3. Add flour and baking soda and whisk until batter is moist. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, lecturer, book reviewer and food writer in Jerusalem. She created and leads the weekly English-language Shuk Walks in Machane Yehuda, she has compiled and edited nine kosher cookbooks, and is the author of Witness to History: Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel.