At $1/kg, here’s 10 ap-peeling ways to eat the banana
FIVE years ago, the humble banana was fetching a whopping $15 a kilo at the supermarket checkout after Cyclone Yasi wiped out 75% of Australia's banana production.
But ideal growing conditions and an abundance of North Queensland sunshine has meant a bumper crop for 2016, with growers encouraging everyone to snap up the cheap 'nanas - with reports of the fruit dropping to as low as a dollar a kilo.
So with an oversupply and the family-friendly prices, we thought we'd bring you 10 different ways to enjoy the good old Aussie banana:
This one's a classic. Sprouting 'natural carbohydrates, vitamin B6 and potassium' Australian Bananas say it's their 'balanced blend of goodness that makes them ideal for restoring tired muscles and boosting bored brains'.
Hot tip: Add a sprinkling of Milo or Nutella!
On top, inside or around pancakes:
Nothing jazzes up your ordinary pancakes like a 'nana. Adding some mashed up banana to your ordinary pancake mixture does wonders, as does chopped fresh bananas on top drizzled with maple syrup and shredded coconut.
A yum recipe to try HERE.
For a winter dessert:
One of my favourite childhood memories is sitting on the kitchen bench helping my dad make 'hot banana custard'. I can still remember cutting up the bananas, dropping them into the big pot on the stove and stirring it around, and always vying for a bit of the 'custard skin' on the top (which other more pro chefs usually skim off before serving).
A quick and easy recipe:
You'll need: One cup of milk, one cup of thickened cream, a few drops of vanilla essence, four egg yolks, one tablespoon cornflour and 1/3 cup caster sugar
Method: Combine milk and cream in a saucepan. Add the vanilla essence and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes or until hot (do not allow to boil). Remove from heat. Whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a heatproof bowl until combined. Pour hot milk mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 to 20 minutes or until custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon (do not allow custard to boil). Add the banana and keep stirring for another couple of minutes. Serve straight away.
Hot tip: If you don't have time to make custard from scratch, simply add banana to the 'ready-to-pour' custards from the shops and heat in the microwave for three minutes!
Inside a muffin:
Many a weekend morning I have been woken up by the smell of banana muffins baking in the oven, courtesy of my housemate.
Muffins are an excellent way of using up 'old' bananas.
Check out a similar recipe, for 'banana cupcakes' HERE.
Turned into bread:
Also keeping with 'using up the black bananas' is to make a yummy banana loaf.
Hot tip: Combine with other North Queensland-inspired fruits like mango to give it an extra fruity kick.
Check out the recipe HERE.
In a healthy smoothie:
Another great way to maximise the use of the cheap bananas at the moment is to freeze them.
The best way I find is to peel them, cut them in half and place in a zip lock bag in your freezer.
In the morning, all you need to do is throw some ice, fresh berries, yoghurt and a couple of frozen banana halves in your blender and your smoothie is ready to go.
In a milkshake:
An old favourite such as this really takes no time at all - a perfect accompaniment to some fresh scones or your morning brekkie.
Try this old-fashioned banana milkshake recipe HERE.
A banoffee pie:
Banana. Toffee. Cream. Chocolate. Condensed Milk.
No further explanation needed, except the link to the recipe HERE.
Jazz up your cereal:
Another banana memory from my childhood involves any school holidays spent at my Nanna's place.
No matter what cereal I requested, she would always slice up banana and put on top.
She normally put it on her muesli and it's amazing on porridge and Special K... but I had to stop and question her choice in putting it atop my Coco Pops.
Inside a jaffle:
In doing this list, I had to educate a colleague about what a jaffle actually is (I didn't think anyone wouldn't know what a jaffle is but I stand corrected).
If you believe Google, a jaffle is a toasted sandwich.
But I beg to differ. The humble jaffle is so much more than just a toasted sandwich, or "toastie" as it's better known.
A regular toastie, when you try and put too much filling inside, has the habit of spilling its contents from between the two slices of bread - and when your filling usually consists of hot cheese it can quickly turn dangerous.
But if your kitchen is well equipped with the heaven-sent contraption known as the jaffle iron, your whole world is turned upside down. Suddenly, your toastie is transformed into a jaffle, which presses and toasts the edges of the toastie for minimal spillage.
A twist on the above 'on toast' option, a banana and Nutella jaffle is a taste explosion.
Hot tip: Keep your sweet jaffle as dessert and for main course, try a jaffle with leftover spaghetti bol and cheese - I promise it will blow your mind.
Check out a recipe HERE.
What about you? What's your favourite banana dish?