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Diane Miller

Benefits of bananas

    Bananas are economical, delicious and nutritious. A six-inch banana has about 85 calories with about .33 grams of total lipid or fat. It is an excellent source of potassium, yet low in sodium. Bananas contain minute amounts of vitamin A, C and the B vitamins.
    For best flavor and quality, bananas are picked green. They ripen under carefully controlled temperature and humidity. When buying bananas, look for those that are plump and free from bruises or decay. They are ready to eat when the skin is solid yellow or slightly flecked with brown.
    If the tips are green and the rest pale yellow, full flavor has not yet developed but the bananas are fine for frying, baking or broiling. Overripe bananas with very brown flecked skins are excellent for salads, drinks, desserts and as an ingredient for baking.
    Green bananas will ripen in a day or two at room temperature. For quick ripening, put the bananas in a paper bag (no plastic) overnight. They will ripen even faster with a piece of ripe fruit in the bag.
    Ripe bananas should be stored at room temperature. After bananas are ripe, they may be refrigerated to slow the ripening process. The skins will turn dark, tub the texture of the fruit will stay firm and the eating quality will not be affected.
    Overripe bananas can also be mashed and frozen with one teaspoon of lemon juice mixed in per cup of mashed fruit. This mixture should be frozen in a moisture-vaporproof container. Thaw the bananas and use them in recipes.
    For more information on food quality, contact Diane at (912) 871-0504, dianem@uga.edu or www.ugaextension.com/bulloch/fcs.

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