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When life gives you (ripe) bananas

Is it weird to be overwhelmed with pure joy when I have a 40lb box of bananas in my possession?? NOT IN THE LEAST BIT! Fruit is nature's candy my friends! And you know how happy kids get about candy? That's me, about bananas (and dates of course)

All I see when I pick up a box of bananas is endless bowls of banana nice cream, lip smackingly yummy banana smoothies, banana milk & GASP! the possibility of banana bread or muffins...OR BOTH! Until that moment when the bananas are perfectly ripe (as in the above photo) & covered in freckles, when the skin thins & peels ever so easily, one must wait. But how long?

The perfectly ripened banana is a bit of a science.

You can go from a box of very yellow nanas with bits of green to nanas that are spotted & falling off the stem in just a matter of days! When this happens you know it's baking time....

**side note: you can also peel & freeze the bananas for nice cream & to add to smoothies but in the case that you run out of containers to put the bananas in, baking saves the day. I'll also share some tips for ensuring that your bananas ripen perfectly every time & if you buy a case like I do, how you can allow your nanners to ripen at different rates!

This time around, I decided I wanted to go big & make banana muffins from Feasting on Fruit AND banana bread from Deliciously Ella.

The recipes I used are both gluten free and vegan; great for everyone!

The trick to veganizing recipes is to use soaked flax or chia seeds to replace the eggs. When flax seeds or chia seeds are soaked for a minimum of 15 minutes, they become gel-like and have a similar consistency to eggs! Cool huh?!

I didn't photograph the muffin making process, but I have photos of the flax seeds soaking in mashed banana that I did for the bread (yes, I deviated from the original recipe & used flax instead of chia because I had flax seeds on hand).

All I did was mash the bananas as the recipe calls for but I mixed in the flax seeds so they could gel-ify. I let the mixture sit & thicken while I measured out the dry ingredients. The recipe didn't call for water or nut milk to soak the flax in so I improvised & it worked out beautifully :)

Recipe review:

I did use potato flour instead of the brown rice flour for the bread because I had potato flour on hand and no rice flour, and I will say that I wasn't a huge fan of the consistency. The bread still turned out well (not such luck with the muffins) but next time around I'll make sure to use rice flour (and oat flour for the muffins). The potato flour got super gummy & dry when I mixed it with the wet ingredients, similar to how coconut flour gets. When the muffins & bread baked, the center was still somewhat gooey too, which was weird & bummed me out, but they both ended up being fine once they cooled.

From my own gluten free, vegan baking experience, potato flour & coconut flour are flours that need to be used sparingly when baking. They both are fantastic thickeners so a little goes a long way. And therefore, 1 cup is way WAY too much for any baking purposes, which is what I used in both of my renditions of these two recipes. They are edible though & totally enjoyable with some honey or maple syrup & a spoonful of nut butter!

When life gives you bananas & you bake them, sometimes you mess up! You just gotta laugh it off! And I hope my baking snafoos help some of you in any future baking endeavors ;)

I almost forgot!

Here are my tips on how to have perfectly ripened bananas:

  1. Keep the bananas in their bunches. They'll ripen slightly quicker when separated

  2. If you buy multiple bunches at once, store them in different temperatures such as a shaded spot, a spot with some sun & another spot with lots of sun

  3. I actually keep the bananas in the case for a few days if they are really green. This will speed up the ripening process a bit if you're anxious to have your bananas like I usually am!

  4. Do not have citrus or apples stored near the bananas as this will hasten the ripening process, unless that's what you want to do: in the case you want to hasten the ripening, put a bunch of nanas in a brown paper bag with an apple & an orange or lemon

  5. When your bananas are perfectly ripe according to your preferences, place them in the fridge to slow the ripening process OR peel them and freeze them for nice cream making!!

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