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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
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Do You Go Bananas for Ice Cream?

Here is another fabulous blog entry from Illinois State University student intern, Katharine Beberman!

I must admit that I have a ravenous sweet tooth. Sometimes, the only way I can satisfy it is though ice cream. While I do indulge from time to time, I try not to make a habit of eating such a decadent dessert. Recently, I stumbled upon a healthy alternative, with only one ingredient, bananas!

Bananas, after being whipped, take on a creamy, soft-serve ice cream-like consistency without the addition of dairy or any sweetener. Your sweet tooth won't even know the difference! This is done by simply freezing and then pureeing bananas. The delicious treat is perfect for people with a dairy allergy or for those on a gluten-free, vegan, or a sugar-free diet. You can spice up the recipe by adding another ingredient or two, like a tablespoon of peanut butter, honey, cocoa powder, fruit preserves, or even maple syrup. The possibilities are endless!

Bananas have many health benefits. Their high level of potassium supports heart health, guarding against high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and stroke. They also enhance the body's ability to absorb calcium, and the vitamin B6 in bananas may protect against mood swings, insomnia, and irritability. In addition, bananas aid in the health of the digestive tract. They contain soluble fiber, preventing constipation, and they suppress acid in the digestive tract, which may guard against ulcers and alleviate heartburn.

It's best to store unripe bananas at room temperature. If your bananas are ripe, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks to slow them from ripening further. Their peel will likely turn an unappetizing black color, but this does not indicate that the bananas are unsafe. Try sliced bananas in cold or hot cereal, mixed into yogurt, on top of a peanut butter sandwich, or baked into bran muffins. Mashed bananas can even be used to replace all of the fat in certain baked goods.

Here is my favorite banana recipe. Enjoy!

Banana Ice Cream

1. Pick a couple ripe bananas, as many as you wish to make your desired amount.

2.   Peel bananas.

3. Cut into very thin coin shaped pieces, place on a plate or baking sheet, and freeze for 1-2 hours until frozen hard.

4. Put frozen pieces in a food processor or blender.

5. Blend on high until it turns creamy. It won't happen instantly and the mixture may get stuck. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

6. Once bananas turn creamy, add a scoop of peanut butter, or anything else you want to mix in.

It will be the texture of soft-serve, but if frozen again, it will become harder and more ice-cream-like .

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