Banana bread was always my favorite thing that my mother made. It was a staple of my childhood, and long after I was grown she would bake it at her home in Arizona and ship it to us whether we lived in Washington or California. It was always delicious, and it was always made with love.
The recipe was handed down through our family from one generation to the next, from Nana to Nana, but we are out of Nanas now, so it is left to us to bake the bread together.
Make it with your family. Taste the love.
Ages: All. There aren’t any knives or sharp items. There is a hot oven, so use caution. If you choose to use one, there may also be an electric mixer, but it is not necessary. We’re spoon people.
Special Notes: The bananas should be aged to the point that the outer peel is mostly (or entirely) black.
Tools needed: a large mixing bowl, a smaller bowl, one 9×5 bread pan, measuring cups, measuring spoons, a fork, a stirring spoon, an oven, one spatula (optional), one electric mixer (optional)
Ingredients: bananas, flour, sugar, eggs, shortening, buttermilk (or sour cream), baking soda, salt
Optional ingredients: nuts, fruit, chocolate chips, other fillings (be creative!)
Preheat oven to 350°, then mix the following in a large bowl:
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
¼ cup buttermilk (or sour cream)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
In a separate bowl crush three (3) peeled bananas with the back of a fork. Once they are crushed mix them into the other ingredients until the batter is creamy and all flour-related lumps have quit fighting against their inevitable demise. Note, the batter is much easier to mix once the bananas have been added.
Variations: Add ¼ cup nuts, fruit, chocolate chips, or the filling of your choice to the mix. Stir it in slowly.
Warning! Discard of empty banana peels in the proper receptacle. Failure to do so may result in serious injury.
Pour the mixed batter into the bread pan (grease as needed). Use the spoon (or spatula) to ensure all of the mix is out of the bowl and also to spread the batter evenly in the pan.
Optional: Lightly sprinkle nuts and/or a mixture of cinnamon and sugar (brown sugar works well, too) across the top of the batter.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake 30-40 minutes. Once done let it cool completely before cutting. Serve plain or with a bit of butter.
- Bananas in a bunch are called “hands.”
- Bananas are rich in potassium, which is an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. That’s why they are a popular snack for athletes! Bananas are also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese.
- In 327 B.C. the army of Alexander the Great documented the discovery of bananas growing in India.
- The Banana (below) by Andy Warhol, a famous artist who painted a series of iconic objects, was used for the front cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico album by The Velvet Underground and Nico. The record didn’t do well at first, but it is now considered a classic. The moral of the story: Tastes change, so try everything more than once!