STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Why do bananas never get lonely? Because they hang out in bunches. And why did the banana fail his driving test? Wait for it … he kept peeling out. It’s OK to appeal to one’s corny side this week since, after all, it’s National Banana Day on April 21.
But seriously folks, when life hands you bananas that could be in six varieties — baby, Burro, Cavendish, Manzano aka apple, red and plantain, the latter which are on the savory side and more starchy. The most commonly consumed in the United States are Cavendish.
Did you know bananas are actually berries? Also, their high potassium can help replenish electrolytes after a workout. And can you guess best way to make a banana split? Well, cut it in half, silly!
Holistically speaking, banana peels have appeal for their beauty boosts. According to Healthline.com, rubbing the peel on one’s face brightens the skin, reduces wrinkles and adds moisture. The folklore also says that putting the peel on closed eyes lessens puffiness. And if that doesn’t work in a banan-o-second there’s a better place for the peel: It’s a popular piece of trash that turns up at the compost collection at the St. George Greenmarket from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday, rain or shine.
CRAZY FOR BANANAS
Why did the banana go out with the prune? Because he couldn’t find a date. And what do you do with a baby banana with brown spots? Maybe there’s a diaper punchline in there — somewhere. But for now, the folks at banana producer Dole company are kicking up National Banana Day up another level. On its website, Dole.com, find a find-the-banana contest with prizes; a 7-Day Banana Activity Plan hosted by Dole’s Bobby Banana and consumer- and retailer-friendly info on the stages of banana ripening. Bonus when you corner the banana market: learn from Dole how to use the peels to make organic fertilizer.
Fertilizer! Well, that’s just bananas.
“As the producer of America’s favorite banana, we see National Banana Day as an opportunity to thank the tens of thousands of growers, packers, retailers, transportation specialists and others that have kept the fruit at the top of everyone’s shopping list,” said Bill Goldfield, Dole’s director of communications. And, the company spokesperson also announced that since the past year has slipped on by us with the pandemic, National Banana Day will be extended through April 24.
Jimmy Collins of West Brighton quipped, “When my son was two he told me he knew how to spell banana but he didn’t know when to stop.”
He added, “A study shows humans eat more bananas than monkeys. I’ve never eaten a monkey.”
Instead, there are bunches of recipes to try.
”RECIPE: GRILLED PINEAPPLE AND BANANA HABANERO SAUCE
(Makes 2 to 4 portions)
2 (1-inch) thick slices fresh pineapple, preferably DOLE® Tropical Gold®
1 banana, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 habanero chili pepper, stemmed and seeded
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Heat grill or broiler to high heat. Brush pineapple slices and flat side of banana with olive oil. Grill for 6 minutes or under broiler for 8 minutes
Coarsely chop pineapple slices and combine with banana, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and chilies in blender or food processor. Cover; blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
— Courtesy of Dole
RECIPE: GLUTEN-FREE BANANA CRANBERRY MUFFINS
(Makes 6 to 1 dozen, depending on muffin tin)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cranberry sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas
1 cup of almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin with 10 regular or 5 Texas size pockets.
Whisk together the egg, sugar, cranberry sauce, vanilla and bananas. Mix the dry ingredients and add to the wet only until combined. Add the chocolate chips. Bake for about 24 minutes for regular muffins or 29 minutes for a larger size. Do not overcook.
— Marie De Simone of Princes Bay from the 2015 Advance Cookbook Contest