September 13-21st is the date of the International Banana Festival in of all places Fulton, Kentucky and its Twin City in South Fulton Tennessee!
It seems that Fulton was a stop for the railroad that used to ship Bananas through the United States all the way up to Canada. There are some very exciting events going on but my purpose here is to just acquaint you with a very few of the items that can be made with Bananas.
Bananas are the fruit of a very large plant, not a tree. There are many varieties of Bananas. There are sweet Bananas which are those we usually eat out of hand and then there are the starchier variety which are called Plantains and these are used for cooking, especially in Mexico, Central and South America.
The Banana is thought to have originated in South East Asia, but it has been cultivated in tropical climates all over the world. The unlikeliest place that I have ever seen Bananas grow was on a plot of land along Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura County. This land is protected by the mountains and has become a ‘micro-climate. The growers grew all kinds of Bananas, large, small, red, yellow and sweet. Unfortunately, the growers lost their lease and the ‘micro-climate’ plot of land has been turned into an Avocado Orchard. Ironically, Avocadoes grow quite well along this coast without having to be in a micro-climatic plot of land. It was really fun to go and buy Bananas, especially since there was such a variety available.
Bananas are great just to eat out of hand and provide a very satisfying snack as well as providing a large percentage of the daily need for Potassium, some Sugar and hardly any fat. A Banana will quickly stop any hunger pangs, but they are also great to bake with and provide a ton of flavor to most baked goods. Today we are going to feature Banana Bran Muffins which in and of themselves will provide a good portion of a nutritious breakfast.
The Banana Bran Muffins is the perfect way to use up Bananas that are on the verge of being too ripe to eat. This is when you want to bake with them as their flavor is at its peak at this point. To make these Muffins, be sure that you have all the ingredients on hand before you start. You will need:
Butter or your choice of Fat (at room temperature)
Brown or Granulated Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
Baking Soda & Salt
All Bran or Bran Flakes
Ripe Bananas (other types of ripe fruit may be substituted)
- Choose the size pan you intend to use. Either a 12 cup Muffin Pan or a larger 6 cup Muffin Pan. I like the small and my husband likes the big ones. I usually try to make some of each.
- Prepare the pan by spraying with a vegetable spray or line the cups with baking papers.
- Sift together the Flour, Baking Soda, Salt and Cinnamon.
- Slice or preferably, mash the Bananas. Generally, 3 ripe Bananas will equal about 2 cups of prepared fruit.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, cream the Butter with the Sugar and then add the Egg. Beat until fluffy. (The incorporated air will help to make the muffins rise more)
- Add the beaten Egg and the Buttermilk (or sour milk) and mix well. Beat in the Banana.
- Add the Bran to the Egg mixture and allow to sit for about 10 minutes or until the bran has softened.
- Meanwhile preheat your oven to 375 degrees and adjust the rack to the center position. This will allow for even distribution of heat.
- Once the Bran has softened,stirin the Flour mixture just until the Flour has been completely incorporated into the liquid. (Overbeating will result in tough muffins)
- Spoon or scoop into the prepared pans. An ice cream scoop works well for this job.
- Bake for 20 minutes (30-35 for larger muffins) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool on a rack; once the Muffins are cool to the touch, turn the pan over to remove the muffins.
For the complete recipe, see http://www.sylveeeskitchen.com/recipes/baked-goods/breads/banana-bran-muffins/