Today is National Banana Lovers Day, to celebrate the most popular fruit in the world, as opposed to, say, celebrating the so-called Banana Wars, in which the United States carried out a number of “police actions” in banana-growing countries in order to protect U.S. commercial interests. But we digress. Back to the more pleasant subject of fruit.
The average American eats some 100 bananas a year, or about 25 pounds’ worth — compared with 16 pounds of apples, the second most popular fruit in the United States. But alas, our banana-eating days are imperiled.
In the United States, the breed of banana most eaten is the fungus-resistant Cavendish, which superseded the brand introduced in the U.S. all but knocked out by fungus, the Gros Michel. But in the 1990s, a new and vicious fungus began destroying plants in Southeast Asia, with experts predicting it’s only a matter of time until it spreads to South America, where most bananas are grown. Scientists are racing against the clock to develop a modified version of the Cavendish that will resist this new fungus.
In the meantime, we should enjoy our bananas while we can. Although technically National Banana Lovers Day is different than National Banana Bread Day, celebrated on February 23, there is no reason why we can’t combine celebrations. This is a recipe for low-fat banana bread that is easy and surprisingly good, in spite of the “low-fat” designation.
Low-Fat Banana Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (recipe suggests 3 medium; I use 5 medium)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup canola oil
4 egg whites (I used the box variety)
1/2 – 1 cup chocolate mini-chips
Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. Add bananas, milk, oil, and egg whites. Beat on medium speed until all blended. Add chocolate chips. No one will blame you if you also throw in a cup of fresh blueberries.
Bake in a teflon loaf pan at 350 for 50 minutes.
Best served warm with ice cream (low fat ice cream, of course)