The banana is America’s top-selling fruit. Contrary to common perception, the banana actually comes from the world’s largest herbaceous flowering plant—not from a tree. Bananas grow in bunches called hands; a group of hands make up a stem, which can weigh over 100 pounds.
Bananas are known to be rich in potassium. A medium banana can contain 400–600 milligrams of it. They are very low in calories and fat, and provide a multitude of vitamins and minerals. The health benefits of bananas are numerous and include lowering blood pressure, boosting brain power and energy levels and fighting depression...just to name a few.
Fresh bananas are available year-round. They ripen best off the plant. The more ripe they are, the sweeter they taste. Bananas should be firm, but not too hard, bright in appearance, and free from bruises or other injuries. Their stems and tips should be intact. The size of the banana does not affect its quality, so simply choose the size that best meets your needs.
In addition to being eaten raw, bananas are a wonderful addition to a variety of recipes from salads to baked goods. Bananas and most nut butters go great together; with that in mind I came up with this wonderful recipe for Almond Butter Banana bread. Made with whole wheat flour and packed with protein I like to enjoy this with my morning coffee.
Almond Butter Banana Bread
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup fresh ground almond butter
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups mashed banana
1/3 cup non-fat yogurt
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven 350° F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
In a large bowl, beat sugar and almond butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs on low speed until blended then add bananas and yogurt. Beat for 30 seconds. Stir in remaining ingredients until just combined and pour into loaf pan. Sprinkle top with pecans, if using.
Bake 55 to 60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes and remove to cooling rack.