Bananas can replenish your stores of potassium, an essential mineral and electrolyte, which helps regulate heart function as well as fluid balance. They also contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. Have you ever wondered what uses there are for ripened bananas?
Research conducted at the University of Innsbruck in Austria suggests that as fruits fully ripen, almost to the point of spoilage, their antioxidant levels actually increase.
Freezing is a great way to save bananas for later use. Once frozen, they can be baked, made into smoothies, dipped into chocolate, or eaten as is for a healthy treat. Start by laying peeled bananas on a baking sheet in the freezer. This helps them to firm up and maintain shape. If you place peeled, unfrozen bananas in a bag, they are more likely to stick together. After your bananas are frozen solid, remove them from the tray and place them into large zip lock bags. Pre-freezing allows you to use just what you need without having to thaw the whole bag, (or attempt to break off each individual banana, which can be quite difficult).
Banana Nut Granola
- 1 cup cashews roughly chopped
- 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- ¾ cup almonds roughly chopped
- 1 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
- ½ cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- 2 medium to large bananas ripened and mashed
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix nuts, seeds, coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined.
- In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until most lumps disappear. Stir in coconut oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup.
- Pour the banana mixture over the nut mixture and stir until all nuts are coated with banana mixture.
- Spread the granola on lined baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 30-35 minutes. About halfway through baking, gently stir the granola so it cooks evenly. Once a golden brown color is reached, remove from the oven and cool before serving.
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