Looking for some fresh inspiration for dessert? It’s right there, on the counter. Bananas may be the most popular fruit in America but they don’t often make it into our desserts.
Yet the sweet taste and firm texture that make bananas so good when eaten raw also makes them perform beautifully when baked in various desserts, dressed-up or casual. Their distinctive flavor teams nicely with cinnamon, chocolate, maple syrup and many other ingredients. And you don’t have to wait until bananas turn brown to use them. With each stage of ripeness comes a sweet opportunity.
Got bananas? Then you’ve got dessert!
Three Kinds of Ripe
The color of a banana’s skin indicates its degree of ripeness. As ripening progresses, the starches turn into sugars, making the banana sweeter and softer. Their texture and sweetness affect the outcome of desserts, so it’s important to use bananas when they’re at the ripeness specified in a recipe. Follow these guidelines:
- When using bananas in baked desserts, choose firm bananas with yellow skin and green tips. They will soften during baking, but won’t become mushy.
- For desserts that use raw bananas, choose firm bananas whose skins are completely yellow but not brown.
- In recipes that call for mashed bananas, such as banana bread, use over-ripe bananas with deep yellow, brown-flecked skins and soft flesh.