There is a tendency to believe the most beautiful fruit will be the most delicious. Not so with America’s most popular fruit. When the banana has turned from green to the iconic yellow we know so well, its journey to perfect ripeness is just getting started. As the banana continues to ripen, the starches continue to convert to sugar and the fruit becomes sweeter and silkier. Although the flesh within is reaching its prime, the peel becomes flecked with brown to black spots. Not so pretty, but perfect for eating as a hand fruit or slicing onto your favorite breakfast cereal. Eventually, though, that sugar conversion will lead to a browning of the flesh within and a sticky texture that isn’t so appealing, although the flavor and sweetness remain. It’s a perfect day for banana bread.
The very ripe banana that has exceeded its snacking appeal is ideal for making banana bread. Sweet, flavorful and aromatic, the texture that isn’t so appealing to eat on its own is a plus when mashing the fruit for use in the classic quick bread. If you’ve got a hankering for banana bread, but your bananas just aren’t that ripe yet, you can hasten the process by baking them in their skin for about 45 minutes at 300 degrees. Bananas that have reached their peak of ripeness are often sold at a discounted price by grocery stores who know their days are numbered. If you see a good price on very ripe bananas or you aren’t ready to make banana bread when your banana have peaked, they can be frozen for six months or longer with no significant loss of flavor to be thawed when banana bread beckons.
This recipe is everything banana bread should be. Sweet, but not too sweet. Dense, but not too dense. The crust is thin, crispy and sweet and a bit of buttermilk provides a hint of tanginess. Easy to make and a great way to put produce to use that might otherwise go to waste.
This banana bread will last four or five days at room temperature or can be refrigerated for a week or so. For extended storage, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or seal in a gallon-sized Ziploc to freeze for up to six months.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 stick butter. soft (plus more for loaf pan)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups mashed overripe bananas
- 3/4 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips (optional)
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In a mixer, cream brown sugar and butter together.
Add vanilla, buttermilk and bananas and continue to mix until smooth.
Add flour blend and mix just until combined.
Stir in nuts or chocolate chips, if desired.
Pour batter into a well-buttered 9” loaf pan.
Bake for 65-70 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Originally: Banana Bread Recipe