My bananas are brown once again. Normally, the bananas that hang out on my kitchen counter stay yellow for a few days. But with the heat, the greenish yellow fruit seems to ripen and get freckly overnight.
I know to speed up the ripening process, putting fruit in a brown paper bag with an apple seems to do the trick. Trapping the ethylene gas produced by the fruits speeds the ripening.
But what about s-l-o-w-i-n-g it down? On some website somewhere some time ago, I read that separating the bananas from the bunch slowed down the ripening. Judging from what’s happening in my kitchen, it doesn’t.
I’ve also read that placing yellow bananas in the fridge slows down the ripening process. And that appears to work, but the bananas become a scary brown on the outside and no one wants to eat them.
According to the Chiquita Banana website, there are five stages of peel ripeness: green, yellow with green tips, yellow, yellow with brown flecks, and brown. The dreaded brown.
There is always that one person in every family that will only eat the second stage of ripeness, yellow with green tips, because all other stages are yuck. You know who you are.
It’s interesting that some fruits will ripen once picked and others won’t. Fruits that continue to ripen include apricot, avocado, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, kiwi, mango, nectarine, papaya, peach, pear, plum, and of course, bananas.
Fruits that do not continue to ripen once picked are berries of any kind (blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry), citrus of any kind (orange, lemon, grapefruit), cherry, fig, grapes, pineapple, pomegranate and watermelon.
Since bananas are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, I really hate to see any of them go to waste. Peeling and freezing them for smoothies is a good idea and I always have a bag of frozen bananas in my freezer.
But one can freeze only so many bananas. My next go-to? Banana bread. Since many folks have chosen to eat gluten-free, including my family from time to time, I was glad to find a gluten-free banana bread recipe a few years ago.
There are packaged gluten-free flour blends (some good and some really awful), but I prefer to mix my own blend depending on what I’m making.
For baked goods, brown and white rice flours along with potato starch, perform the best, producing a similar texture and mouth-feel as that of all-purpose flour. Since gluten isn’t present, a binding agent like xanthan gum is helpful to keep things all together. All these ingredients are available at grocery stores and the local Winco.
This recipe is from the cookbook, “Deliciously G-Free: Food So Flavorful They’ll Never Believe it’s Gluten-Free” by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She is the former TV co-host of “The View.” Diagnosed with celiac disease, Hasselbeck has written two books about gluten-free cooking and is an advocate for celiac awareness.
I think you will enjoy this banana bread whether you are gluten-free or not. And I know you will be glad to put those ripening bananas on your kitchen counter to good use.
Gluten-free Banana Bread
- 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1⁄2 cup mashed banana (about 4 small, very ripe bananas)
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 3⁄4 cup millet flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- 1⁄2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1⁄4 tsp baking powder
- 1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with aluminum foil and coat foil with cooking spray. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until mixture is light yellow and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on medium until thoroughly combined. Add banana and 1⁄3 cup water and mix on low for 1 minute. Sprinkle brown rice flour, millet flour, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder over batter. Add nuts, if desired. Stir batter just until ingredients are combined. Spoon into pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until center of loaf springs back to the touch. Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Lift bread out of pan and let it cool completely on rack.