August 27 – National Banana Lovers Day

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.

As one action of many during the Banana Wars, the Marine Corps was called to Haiti July 28, 1915, to occupy and stabilize the nation in an effort to protect American interests throughout the Caribbean, as well as Central and South America.

As one action of many during the Banana Wars, the Marine Corps was called to Haiti July 28, 1915, to occupy and stabilize the nation in an effort to protect American interests throughout the Caribbean, as well as Central and South America.

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In the United States, the breed of banana most eaten is the fungus-resistant Cavendish, which superseded the brand introduced in the U.S. all but knocked out by fungus, the Gros Michel.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.

Harvesting Cavendish Bananas

Harvesting Cavendish Bananas

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)

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Happy Banana Lovers Day!!

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10 Responses to August 27 – National Banana Lovers Day

  1. Beth F says:

    Thank god for the chocolate chips! And I bet blueberries would be good too.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    I am way below average on this. I love most fruit but don’t like bananas. I think it’s the texture. Either that or the fact that we had a banana tree in our yard in Bermuda and I ate enough of them in my young life to last me forever.

  3. Tina says:

    I did not know any of this and that was very educational. In my household we may be above average on the banana intake and below in the apples. I eat one every morning. I am certainly saving your recipe for banana bread, that looks amazing.

  4. Claudia says:

    Here in Hawaii a local favorite is the “apple banana” – a bit smaller than commercial ones, sweet and delicious. Hopefully that nasty fungus won’t get mine.

  5. I’m not sure if I eat that many bananas but I do like them and I LOVE banana bread, and banana muffins, and banana cake and just pretty much any baked good featuring bananas. This lighter version sounds good!

  6. Vicki says:

    I love all the info about bananas, which I happen to love. I also love banana bread and your recipes sounds really good. Love the addition of chocolate chips. Bookmarking this to make soon.

  7. that’s a whole lot of bananas. Most of ours come from the Philllipines. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole’s Chatter

  8. We love a good banana bread recipe, and low-fat makes it even better.

  9. molly says:

    My husband loves Banana bread… but would insist on adding a few nuts. The chocolate chips sound like a nice addition though 🙂

  10. aartichapati says:

    OHMIGOSH, I can’t believe I missed this! But I did have a chocolate chip banana nut muffin yesterday (and today) in unaware celebration.

    So funny, my coworker and I are totally obsessed with the monoculture of bananas and how at risk the Cavendish is! Though, apparently, the Cavendish is a poor substitute for whichever one died of disease in the 1970s. Sigh. Must we always be moving to substandard bananas?

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