Recently, I’ve learned a few interesting facts about bananas. As I was enjoying a banana at my desk a few weeks ago, my co-worker Mark Hogan mentioned that apes and monkeys peel bananas the opposite way we do, from the bottom not the top. They pinch the softer bottom and it splits clean. The top stem then becomes a sturdy handle. These mammals are intelligent beings. Maybe humans have been doing it wrong all along? Give it a try next time and see what you think.

In my quest to learn about how monkeys eat bananas, I came across a Business Insider article that said in the wild monkeys don’t eat bananas?? The primates don’t live in areas where bananas naturally grow. Monkeys eat leaves, other fruits, nuts, flowers and insects in the wild. It is suspected that the book Curious George by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey published in 1941 created the “monkeys eat bananas” myth.  So, while our primate cousins haven’t been peeling bananas since the dawn of time, I still bet there way is more efficient. Monkeys will do what exerts the least amount of energy and effort, so it makes sense that their way of peeling a banana is easier than ours.

The second banana revelation comes from my mother-in-law Maureen Walsh. She posted on facebook, “If you separate each individual banana from the bushel, it slows the ripening process.” Like many fruits, bananas emit ethylene gas and this gas naturally is produced by the stem. Breaking the cluster slows the gas production which is the cause of ripening. So cool, right!

banana bread

Don’t’ worry though, if your too lazy or forget to break apart your bushel of bananas and they all turn brown, make banana bread. Bananas can never be too ripe for bread.

Mauren swears by this recipe and her trick for a moist bread is wrapping it in plastic wrap for three days before serving.

Banana Bread
Makes one, 9 inch bread

2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed banana (2-3 very ripe large banana)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup yogurt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a medium sized bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and oil. Blend in the mashed bananas and vanilla. Then whisk the ingredients together and sift. It’s important that the mixture is thoroughly combined. Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour to the banana batter. Lastly, stir in the yogurt until all is combined.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9×5 inch loaf pan. Bake the bread for about one hour, until a knife in the center comes out clean. If the bread begins to brown too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil after 30- 40 minutes in the oven.

Let it cool and store for three days covered tightly in plastic wrap for a very moist bread.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur’s Cookbook.

tagged in recipe