Lately I've been on a banana kick, buying bunches at a time, waiting for the green ones to ripen enough to eat.

I eat the fruit in phases, enjoying a couple a day for a week or two, then I'll quit buying them for a couple of months.

My great-grandma used to say I'd only eat them when my body craved potassium, one of the many nutrients bananas contain.

She might be right. But I eat other fruit that way, too, bouncing between bananas, oranges, apples and grapefruit. I eat one for a couple of weeks before switching to another.

Of course, I mix in other fruits along the way, depending on what's in season.

But back to bananas.

Most of the time, I simply peel a banana and eat it or slice one into a bowl of cereal. But I won't eat mushy bananas. The texture is too weird.

When they get overripe, I know it's time to mix up a smoothie or bake a batch of banana nut bread, two great ways to get banana flavor without the mushy, baby food-like texture.

If I'm not in the mood to bake or blend, I freeze the mushy bananas on a stick for a tasty fruit-cicle.

Banana smoothie

Ingredients

1 banana

1 cup unsweet vanilla almond milk

½ cup egg whites

2 tablespoons Splenda (or to taste)

1 pinch ground cinnamon

Directions

Put all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. For a cooler treat, blend in a few ice cubes.

Serves: 1

Banana nut bread

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a

9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; add walnuts then stir just to moisten.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.

Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Serves: 12 to 16

­- Adapted from allrecipes.com

Contact News/Design Editor Clare Haefner at chaefner@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7551.

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