Go Bananas Preserving!

Written by Sherrie Cook, Contributing Writer

Imagine with me for a moment:  a crisp night, crackling fire, blankets, loved ones all around enjoying hot beverages and warm, fresh out of the oven, banana bread. Are you drooling yet? I was too until I looked at the thermometer and remembered it was over 100°F outside!  I know it’s Summer right now and many places are sweltering and hot fires are the last thing you would want in your den, but…isn’t that one reason why we preserve all summer long?  The garden’s bounty is amazing right now and we know that come Fall and Winter we will thank ourselves for the time we’ve spent harvesting and canning while the produce is fresh.

Bananas are no different.  Even though most of us can’t grow them ourselves, it still makes sense to store them for use all year long.  For example, I make banana-chip muffins for my family year round. They are a favorite breakfast treat here and since I make them with freshly milled Ezekiel 4:9 flour, I feel even better about what I’m serving my family.  (I’ve included the recipe at the bottom.)  When I first began making these delicious muffins, I always had to wait for my bananas to get really ripe squishy and brown and speckled on the outside.  This waiting process was agonizing to my children – and you know what they say about a watched pot – “Mama, are they brown enough yet?”

It was quickly clear to me that we needed some of these monkey treats on hand!  I’m a quick study – especially when impatient children are involved – and I learned to buy more bananas than what my family would eat in a week’s time.  As we consumed one bunch, the second bunch would turn a lovely brown and I could freeze them to start to build my stash.  I was pleased with my new plan until the first time I went to the freezer to get bananas for our muffins.  I was torn between peeling the bananas immediately and freezing my fingers or letting them thaw first and then making a huge peeling mess with mushy bananas.  My decision?  Peel the bananas first, then freeze them!

Freezing Bananas

Some people call this method “flash freezing”, while others are concerned that the term sends the wrong message and really refers to chemicals, etc.  (Do a Google search, you’ll see what  a heated topic it really is, whew!)  So, I’ve affectionately named the act of peeling bananas and putting them on a cookie sheet to freeze them and then transferring them to a more suitable storage container for long-term storage in the freezer – “cookie sheet freezing”.  (I know, real original, right?  But it gives you a good visual.)

The bananas shown above have been peeled and laid separately on the cookie sheet.  They are ready to go into the freezer. (I assure you the cookie sheet is clean.  Interesting things happen to your bakeware when you’re teaching four little ones to cook!)  Sometimes I will lay a piece of wax paper over the cookie sheet before laying the bananas on it.  This makes for a really easy transfer into the final storage container, but often times I feel a bit wasteful just throwing the paper away so I will skip that step.

Freezing times will vary depending on how much fruit you’re freezing at once, but I usually set a timer in 20 minute increments so I won’t forget about my bananas and ruin them. Once they are frozen, you can move them into your favorite freezer storage containers and label them appropriately.

What to do with the peels

You may know that roses love, love, love banana peels!  They make a great fertilizer for rose bushes.  Since it’s Summer and I have rose bushes in need of some love, I make a puree’ out of my banana peels.  I simply put the peels – minus the hard stem at the top – into my blender and add some water.  (Three banana peels need about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water.) 

I run the blender until I have liquid peels and then take the results out to my garden for my roses. (After pouring the puree’ at the base of the roses, it is usually best to water it in to avoid attracting bugs.)

Banana-Chip Muffins

Ingredients

2 1/2 Cups flour                         1/2 Cup honey

1 tsp salt                                      1/4 Cup ground flax seed

1 tsp baking soda                     1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp baking powder               1 Cup buttermilk

1 tsp cinnamon                         1 egg

1/4 tsp nutmeg                          1 tsp vanilla

1/2 Cup safflower oil               2 – 3 mashed bananas

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease muffin pan.
  2. Measure & toss dry ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Whisk together egg, remaining liquids & bananas in a medium bowl.
  4. Pour liquids into dry ingredients & mix just until well blended.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to put batter into muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.

Yields 18 to 24 muffins.

Do you freeze your ripe bananas? What method do you use (and what yummy things do you make with them)?

Top photo courtesy of jannamo.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.

About Sherrie Cook

Sherrie is a wife, mother, peer counselor, speaker and author. She enjoys helping fellow moms in their quest for a simple, God-centered home for their natural living families. She notes her (hopefully) helpful hints at The Proverbial Woman.

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Comments

  1. Anne Dewandeleer says:

    Hello Sherrie, just read your advice for the roses… I’ve always used the banana peel trown directly where the roses grow. And it works perfectly.
    greetings,
    Anne

  2. I’ve been using frozen bananas mixed with all sorts of frozen fruits in a machine called Yonanas – which creates creamy frozen dessert with just fruit. Thanks for the tip on what to do with banana peels!

  3. I absolutely must write a big Thank You for sharing your simple, common sense instructions for freezing bananas. A local grocery store had bananas on sale, @ .29 cents a lb…. we love bananas and need the potassium. On September 30th we picked up a case and was looking forward to the trying the various suggestions shared here. October 2nd… I woke up with my eyes feeling a bit “odd”; allergies maybe? Eyes not focusing correctly? Which Doctor should I call? Long story short; spoke with my family doctor’s nurse… described the “eye problems”… to which she said, “you get to the ER now”! I was having a TIA, (mini strokes)…. spent the night in the hospital and a gazillion of tests later showed no damage done! What a blessed relief!
    Came home to “all those bananas”! Lol Thanks to having read your post and comments from others, it was a simple task to peel, toss on cookie sheets, freeze and bag! Tried one this morning with half a peanut butter sandwich… delicious!! Thank you guys sooo much for sharing!
    I may have been the only person in the whole world who did not know, not all symptoms for a stroke are loud and clear… the ONLY things I experienced were very mild problems focusing, the feeling my eyes were crossing, some double, triple vision, dilated eyes then “everything seeming to be okay”. On again, off again for 3 hours. Now, I knew the typical signs of a stroke and IF I’d known something this simple was a warning sign, I would have gone to the ER, on my own. I did not know. The nugget of gold from my Dr was this; “When there is a problem with vision, it’s seldom anything to do with the eyes but IS about what’s happening in the brain”! Please tuck my experience away for your own use and share with everyone you can. As “one gets ehhh older” changes in how our bodies function is “normal” however any visual change is not about the eyes; it is IN the brain:) Now, I may have been the only person who didn’t know this but probably not. Lol
    BTW I just “found your site” a couple of weeks ago… thank you sooo much!

  4. AutumnGal says:

    I can’t hardly believe my good fortune finding your site and comments! Bananas were on sale last week for .29 a lb. so we bought a case to save, preserve etc…. then I had a health emergency spent a day and night in the hospital. Through the whole time I’m thinking “but I have bananas at home that needs my attention! Lol So today is “Banana Day”…. and here is all this tried and tested information!! Thanks A Million! (BTW we are seniors.)

  5. I keep a container n the freezer and throw my peeled over ripe bananas in as I accumulate them. When the container is full I know I have enough for a double batch of muffins. I then put it in the fridge and they are ready to use within a few hours – usually needing to be drained a little bit. After I learned about peeling them, I no longer worry about having purchased more then we will eat at a time.

  6. When my children were babies, I would cut ripe bananas into large chunks and “cookie sheet freeze” them. Then put a frozen peice in a Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder. ( It’s like a pasifier with a net for a nipple.) The banana doesn’t have sharp edges like ice. It’s softer, and melts into a yummy mess. It’s great for little gums teething or just a cool treat on a hot day. (The Munchkin Feeder keeps it from being a choking hazard.)

  7. JennErin@moody says:

    Freeze way over ripe bananas. When you are ready to use them remove them from the freezer enough time in advance to thaw in the fridge(I use a glass bowl). When needed for bread, pancakes, smoothies etc… holod squishy banana over container of choice and snip off the end of the banana with a pair of shears. Then squeeze the rest out.

  8. I do freeze them just by throwing them in a bag and tossing the the freezer. But I also keep a container of bananas in the fridge, letting them turn brown and syrupy. Then I use the banana glop in smoothies as a sweetener. We have raspberry bushes and have raspberry smoothies all year long. They are a bit sour in a smoothie for our tastes, and need a sweetener. Bananas that are brown are perfect!

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