If I were to get stuck on an island with only one kind of fruit-bearing tree, I would hope and pray it was banana. Believe it or not, bananas are considered berries. In tropical countries like the Philippines, where I grew up, there are different kinds of bananas, varying in size, color, firmness and the thickness of its peel.
Latundan bananas are short, fat, very sweet and have thin peel. Lacatan bananas are the typical kind that can be bought in Western countries, longer, starchier, and with thicker peel than Latundan. Saba, also known as plantain, is big, bland, and better eaten cooked than raw. There is also the Señorita, which is very very small and very very sweet.
Growing up in the Philippines, bananas were a staple in my home. We don’t have as much variety in the US, but I try to always have some in my home here in Maine. It’s an easy to grab and go snack, and a nutritious dessert after meals. I throw one in the blender for all kinds of smoothies. Cut up in half with some peanut butter spread in between is all kinds of awesome.
Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and potassium, according to the USDA report on the nutritional value of bananas.
Although my favorite way to eat bananas is just by itself, my daughter recently requested it as an ice cream flavor. Here’s my recipe:
Banana Ice Cream with Caramel Swirl
2 cups organic raw whole milk
1 cup organic raw heavy cream
4 large organic egg yolks (we had duck eggs, and they were fantastic!)
2/3 cup organic sugar
2 ripe organic bananas, chilled
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 cup organic raw heavy cream
Combine milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally so a film doesn’t form on the surface, until tiny bubbles show up on the edges and the mixture reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with 2/3 cup of sugar until smooth.
Is it crazy that I’m making ice cream during a snowstorm? A photo posted by Modern Wife (@modernwife) on
Once the milk/cream mixture reaches temperature, slowly pour a little bit at a time into the bowl of egg yolks while whisking continuously. Don’t hurry this. You don’t want to cook your eggs into some kind of scrambled thing. Slowly but surely, you want custard. Return the whole mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon. It should reach a temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit without ever going to a boil. This will take a long time. Patience is the key. Pour the whole mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean glass bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Stir it often to let the heat out. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate overnight. Chill the bananas in the refrigerator as well.
#Bananas in a blender. A photo posted by Modern Wife (@modernwife) on
Blend bananas, 1 tablespoon sugar, lemon juice, and half the custard. Blend until smooth then whisk back into the rest of the custard. Pour the whole mixture into a prepared ice cream maker. Churn until thickened.
Melting #sugar A photo posted by Modern Wife (@modernwife) on
While churning, cook 1/2 cup sugar in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon once sugar begins to melt.
Once the sugar is completely melted and turned a reddish-brown color, lower heat to medium-low and add 1/2 cup of heavy cream. The mixture will bubble vigorously, so keep a distance from the pan immediately after pouring. Whisk and add the remaining 1/2 cup of cream.
Melted #sugar + heavy #cream = #caramel A photo posted by Modern Wife (@modernwife) on
Keep whisking and cooking until the sauce thickens but is still pourable, about 10 minutes. Cool completely, then refrigerate. It will harden in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using as a topping.
When the ice cream has churned into a soft serve consistency and just before it overflows out of the ice cream maker, turn the machine off. Transfer a little bit at a time into an airtight container, alternating with spoonfuls of caramel. Freeze until firm.