Recently, some friends confessed that they are loathe to eat a banana in any less than perfect condition. They are so averse to banana bruises, strings and speckles that it even deters them from buying bananas at all. "What's the point?" they sigh in resignation.
I do not fear brown bananas. In fact, I usually buy massive bunches of bananas in the hopes that a few will dodge consumption and become soft, mottled and sweet.
I have no shortage of uses for these imperfect perfect fruits*, the easiest of which involves breaking into pieces and freezing in ziplock bags for use in smoothies or banana soft serve. My favorites are Hummingbird Cake and Blueberry Banana bread.
When I ran across this Banana-Lime Jam recipe in Cooking Light, I just happened to have some lovely ripe bananas on my counter. It was one of those times when I moved without thinking- I grabbed some limes and started squeezing.
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Three peeled and sliced over-ripe bananas.
Reduce heat to medium and cook for 45 minutes, occasionally stirring and smashing the bananas with the back of the spoon. When thickened, remove from heat and stir in two tablespoons of butter. The jam will thicken more as it cools.
This jam is utterly delicious and reminds me of caramelized bananas. It would be fantastic on english muffins, and I really like it on whole grain breads. All the sugar preserves it very well, and mine's still doing fine in a jar in the fridge after a couple weeks. Ah! I just thought about banana jam on pancakes! Mmmmmm.
*My thoughts on the banana:
What an odd and lovely fruit. It requires no washing. No juices dribble down your arm when you take a bite. No messy fingers- it's got a built-in wrapper. Just grab and go. A perfect package of fiber, potassium, vitamin c and more.
Bananas are emulsifiers- they keeps ingredients from separating, keep things suspended, which is why they are so good in breads and cakes and smoothies, and you can often cut down or exclude eggs or butter because of this. What's more, they are the only fruit I can think of that is really opaque. Could bananas save the world?