Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Anna Sultana’s Easy Banana Ice Cream & Frozen Bananas Treats

A few weeks ago there was a quirky little story floating around the internet.

Seems an 87-year-old woman had left a unique legacy for her grandchildren - a refrigerator full of bananas. 
To be exact: 3,400 bananas.

Poor old Mrs. Gibson had always meant to make a loaf or two of banana bread, and, well, she died regretting that she never got around to doing the deed.
Time just flew and well, she was busy with other things. It happens.
Hopefully her heirs, duly named in her will, would enjoy the fruits of her labour.

Okay… it was a joke. Just a little something to give us all a giggle.
But it reminded me of a quick little dessert Ma threw together every so often.

It really is hard to figure out how much to buy for a family of seven. 
I mean, you don’t want food to go bad, but then you don’t want run short, especially of something as healthy as fresh fruit.
Picture it… seven people reaching for a banana and there are only six in the bowl. 
It could get ugly.

So, Ma bought extra and sometimes she had the opposite problem - bananas which had turned from gold to freckled to brown. 
And they changed so quickly when it got hot in the summer!

Well, Ma wasn’t one to throw away food, so she went from plan A, serving fresh, as is, to plan B, using it as an ingredient in a recipe. Hopefully an easy quick recipe. Same as there was a limit to the fresh fruit’s life span, there was a limit to her energy and time.

Her breads and cakes were terrific desserts during the winter. 
In the summer, not so much.
Summer is the time for something cold, like ice cream.
The mushy, spotty bananas had lost their je ne sais quoi for serving in a banana split.
But they were just perfect for Ma to use to make a quick ice cream.

Some market chains regularly bag a couple of pounds of over ripe bananas and sell them for a dollar.
Next time you see them grab yourself one or two to make yourself some ice cream.
It’s easy and doesn’t need an ice cream maker or other ingredients.
Unless you want to get creative… and super delicious.


The banana chunks will keep in the freezer for at least a week.

One large banana will make about a cup of ice cream.

Some addition ideas:
A Tablespoon of peanut butter
A drizzle of honey
A half Cup of chocolate chips
Chopped almonds or pecans or walnuts or peanuts or any kind of nut
A Tablespoon of Nutella
A Tablespoon of cocoa powder
Half a teaspoon of cinnamon, cardamom, or ginger
A few drops of peppermint oil and some chocolate chips
A few drops of vanilla and a few frozen cherries (chocolate is good in this, too)
A Tablespoon or two of cocoa powder and some unsweetened coconut
A Tablespoon or two of peanut butter with a half Cup of raisins

You could make a big batch of ice cream in advance. Set out an assortment of additions and let your guests add their favourites to their own servings.

You can also make a Banana Fruit Smoothie. 
Just place a few chunks of frozen banana, along with any other fruits you’d like, in a blender. Add a spoon of honey and a cup of milk or yogurt. Blend until smooth.

The smoothie mixture could also be placed in a popsicle tray. 
Add sticks, allow to freeze a few hours, and you’ll have a frozen treat for the kiddies.

                        Banana Ice Cream

Peel the ripe bananas and cut them into 1/2 inch chunks.
Place the chunks in a plastic freezer bag or container to freeze at least two hours until solid (overnight is better).
Place about a cup of banana chunks in the blender or food processor and pulse or blend until smooth. Occasionally scrape down so that all chunks are used.
You want a smooth and creamy frozen dessert, like soft serve ice cream, so don’t over-process or you’ll melt the ice cream.
Add your favourite additions (optional - see Hints) and pulse for a few seconds.
If you’re not adding anything, blend for a few more seconds to aerate the ice cream.

You can eat the ice cream immediately, but it will be quite soft.
It can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for a firmer dessert.

If you don’t want to mess a blender, you could make 

                        Chocolate, Nut-Covered Frozen Bananas Treats

Melt chocolate (dark, semi-sweet or milk) in a bowl over boiling water or in the microwave, stirring occasionally and scraping the sides of the bowl.

Place wax paper over a baking sheet for easier clean up.
Push a popsicle stick inside each banana.
Dip the bananas in the melted chocolate, and carefully place them on the wax paper.
Sprinkle your freshly dipped bananas with chopped peanuts, pecan, walnuts, etc. 
Your choice to have nuts or not.
Freeze for at least an hour or until frozen.

About the sky this week and next, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

July 20 - Look to the eastern horizon about an hour before sunrise to see Venus and the waning crescent Moon.

July 21 - The waning crescent Moon will be at perigee, its closest point to the Earth. 
An easy way to remember: Apogee has an “A” = Away, so Perigee = closest.

July 23 - New Moon at 5:46 a.m.  Take my word for it. You can’t see it.

July 24 - Almost due south at around 11 p.m. is Sagittarius, the archer. Some people see a teapot here. If you search this area with binoculars on a dark, moonless night, you’ll be rewarded with a night filled with discoveries — you can find at least 15 Messier objects, including M8 (Lagoon); M17, (Omega); M20, (Trifid).

July 28 - Look to the southwest at dusk to find the Moon, Jupiter, and Spica, the brightest start in the constellation Virgo the Maiden, forming a trio in the night sky.

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