Holy Banana’s @weightwatchers @loselikeaman

Posted: August 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Go Bananas!

Why we love’em and how to eat’em.
Article By: Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
Go Bananas!
Bananas are so creamy, they’ve been called “nature’s cheesecake.” And now, under the PointsPlus® plan, that tropical wonder racks up a big zero. Would you pass up “free cheesecake”? It’s definitely time to go bananas!

Simple Things to Do With Bananas

Here are eight more easy choices you might not have thought of:

Banana Black Bean Dip. Bananas add a delicate sweetness to the classic dip. Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and cook 1/4 cup minced red onion and 1 teaspoon minced garlic, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add 1 banana, peeled and sliced; stir 2 minutes over the heat. Add 1 cup drained and rinsed canned black beans, 1/2 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth, and 1 teaspoon ground cumin. Cover and simmer 5 minutes, then pour into a large food processor or blender and whir until smooth.

Banana Batido. This puréed drink is a favorite quencher from street carts. Put 1 ripe, peeled banana, 1 cup lowfat milk, 1/2 cup diced, peeled, mango or kiwi, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 4 ice cubes in a blender. Snap on the top and blend until smooth.

Baked Bananas. What a dessert — especially when topped with frozen vanilla yogurt! Plan on 1 banana per serving. For each, peel and split the fruit lengthwise. Put it on a piece of foil, add a couple of teaspoons of apricot jam and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Fold the foil closed and seal it tight around the edges. Bake on a baking sheet in a preheated 400F oven for 15 minutes.

Easy Banana Pudding. No need to even turn on the stove with this simple, high-protein dessert! Process 1 pound silken tofu, 2 peeled ripe bananas, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a food processor until creamy, scraping down the inside of the canister a couple of times. Spoon mixture into bowls and chill for at least 2 hours.

All bananas are not created equal
Well, as far as PointsPlus values go, they’re all equal: the big zilch. But there are many varieties that show up in our supermarkets. Here are four of the best:

Cavendish. The standard, long, thin, yellow banana, quite creamy when ripe.

Burro. A squat, thick, yellow banana with very silky flesh and a mild, lemony tang.

Niño. A small, 3-inch-long, Ecuadorian banana, the best choice for sautéing and deep-frying because of its firm, aromatic flesh.

Red. A stubby or slender banana with deep-red skin and beige flesh. This one will keep the longest at room temperature — up to three weeks.

Bring on the spots
How do you know if a banana is ripe? Unpeeled, it’s not pure, highlighter yellow. Instead, it has several dark-brown or black spots.

The best banana for baking is riper still. It’s brown all over with distinctly soft spots. There may even be a few fruit flies buzzing around.

However, if a banana is watery when peeled or has a fermented odor, it’s gone too far and is ready for the compost bin.

Myth: Never put a banana in the fridge
You think the one on your counter has never been refrigerated? Ha! On its way to you, it’s been kept in cold storage.

But not as cold as your refrigerator. Once you put it in there, the peel starts to go black. The cold temperature causes the skin’s ripening chemicals to go into overdrive. But we’re talking aesthetics here, not taste.

In fact, the internal enzymes that snap starches into sugars to sweeten the fruit actually slow down in the chill. The banana flesh inside stops ripening.

To put it simply: At room temperature, the banana flesh gets softer more quickly but the peel stays lightly colored; in the fridge, the banana peel gets darker more quickly but the flesh stays firmer longer.

Let’s also give a shout-out to a corollary that howls around the internet every once in a while: that putting bananas in the fridge turns them poisonous.

If cold bananas were lethal, everyone would have dropped dead from eating your Aunt Sally’s gelled salad, that quivering dome with the banana slices in it. Or from eating her banana cream pie. Or her banana pudding. Those things have been in the fridge for days. Aunt Sally works ahead. Days ahead. Nobody’s ever dropped dead because of her cold bananas. Because of her cooking? That’s another story.

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