Although we try to eat local as much as we can, we really use a lot of bananas around here. Anytime I have a surplus of ripe ones, I toss some in the freezer to eventually become ice cream, smoothies, or banana zucchini bread. Just a few years ago I learned this trick that preserves the integrity of the banana even while frozen.
Until then, I had always thought the only way to freeze bananas was to peel them first, and then freeze chunks in plastic bags. Well, the problem with that method is that when I would try to use these bananas, they'd be frozen together. Or, even if they managed to not stick together, their color would always be transformed by their time in the freezer to an unpleasant brown. Using this method, however, will maintain the color of fresh bananas, and it probably maintains more of their nutritional integrity as well.
It might be a small thing, but I also appreciate that this method eliminates the need for any plastic. Bananas stay in their own natural wrappers until they're needed; there is no garbage created and no bags to wash.
I had tried freezing them with the peel on before, but found peeling them to be nearly impossible while frozen, and letting them thaw once they were frozen was gross: they'd become mushy. Finally it occurred to me to use a knife to peel frozen bananas, and it turned out to be quite easy. Here is how I do it:
I hold the banana with a clean cloth to protect my fingers from the cold. Then I simply take a knife and slice both ends off the banana, and make a long slice down both sides, from end to end. If you let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before slicing into it, it does make the peel come away a bit easier. Just don't wait until it's soggy.
Once these slices are made, you can slide the knife under the peel and it will come away from the banana fairly easily. Not as easy as peeling a fresh banana, but the knife & cloth combo really helps!
What you end up with is a beautiful frozen banana that doesn't look like it's spent any time in the freezer! Use as you would any frozen banana. They make great ice creams, smoothies (click here for my green smoothie recipe) and banana breads.
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