Everyone loves a banana. So much so, that they are the world’s bestselling fruit. Here in the UK each of us eats on average 12kg per year. That works out at about 2 per week for each of us. There are about 1000 different varieties of bananas throughout the world. The one that we know and love in the UK is the Cavendish variety, most of our banana imports are from the countries of South America.
Bananas are great as they are versatile. Here are a few ideas of what to do with them.
Mashed- for a quick healthy snack, just mash up and spread on toast, oatcakes, rice cakes in a roll, the list goes on.
Bananas and Custard– for an everyday pudding in a hurry you cannot go wrong with bananas and custard. I use Birds custard powder and you only have to add milk and a little sugar, allow about ¼ pint per adult and a bit less for children. My family is a custard loving family so you may find it too much. Make up the custard according to the instructions on the tin or packet. For the last couple of minutes of cooking add your chopped banana, this makes the bananas soften and even tastier.
Oven Baked or Barbequed– baking bananas almost melts them and intensifies their flavour. If you have the oven on, wrap individual bananas loosely in tin foil and pop them into the oven.
Banana Ice Cream– I have this recipe on my website but it is so simple and delicious I had to add it again. My kids love it, and they think that they are getting a treat. The only ingredients are bananas and a little milk so they are super healthy.
Take a large banana, peel and chop into slices. Place the slices into a freezer bag or box, and place in the freezer until frozen. A couple of hours is usually enough. When you are ready to eat your ice cream remove the frozen slices, put into a food processor along with about 20 ml milk. Blitz. At first it will look like it is just getting chopped into small pieces. Do not worry this is normal. Stop the processor and scrape the banana bits from the sides. Blitz again and you will see the banana coming together into an ice cream consistency. Give it a mix and blend again if needed. Add more milk if needed. Serve immediately or put it back in the freezer.
Have you ever dispaired at your banana? It was lovely and yellow when you left the house, but by lunch is battered and bruised?
bruised? There is a simple solution, a Banana Guard banana guard. Whether you are out walking, cycling or just going to work, it will keep your banana safe. Made of plastic and 18cm long, it will keep you banana safe and sound till lunch.
Beetroot is a root vegetable, purple in colour with a fabulous, slightly earthy taste. They can be bought raw, cooked and vacuum packed, and pickled. Personally I am not a fan of pickled beetroot, and buy my beetroot already cooked. If you chose to by your beetroot raw, cooking it is simple. All you need to do is boil it in a pan of water as you would potatoes, until soft. Once cooked the skin comes off easily. You will however end up with purple hands. Beetroot can stain easily so be very careful where you put your hands before washing them.
One of the simplest ways to enjoy beetroot is to slice it and add to a cheese sandwich. It also goes really well with apple and feta cheese in a salad.
While it is a vegetable, beetroot is versatile and is used in sweet as well as savoury cooking. The most popular way to use beetroot is sweet cooking is in beetroot and chocolate cake, or red velvet cake. The addition of beetroot to a cake makes the cake lovely and moist.
I cannot remember where I got this recipe for beetroot and chocolate cake from. I wrote it down on a piece of paper ages ago and have been trying not to lose it ever since!
Does this Cake Count as one of My 5 a Day?
This is a very good question. According to my pack of cooked beetroot, 80g of beetroot counts as one of your 5 a day. This recipe contains 175g, so unless you are going to eat just over half of the cake in one day, then, unfortunately no it does not count. It is however, always worth asking! Also, you would be consuming nearly 2 days worth of sugar.
You may also know this as ‘green trees’, as named by the little people in our lives. Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family and ‘The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means “the flowering crest of a cabbage”‘ (Wikipedia 2016). There are three main types grown; calebrese, or the most common type of broccoli (pictured) , sprouting broccoli and purple sprouting broccoli. The sprouting types have much longer stems and many small heads.
Most of us boil, steam or stir fry broccoli, however it is also really tasty eaten raw, usually as part of a salad. It is an excellent source of both vitamin C and K. 100g of raw broccoli provides 107% of your daily amount of vitamin C, and 97% of your daily amount of vitamin K.
If you steam your broccoli rather than boil it, it will provide you with cholesterol lowering benefits. Like all vegetables they should be cooked until they still have a little bite to them, not until they are soft and limp. Over cooking veg rids them of essential nutrients and vitamins.
Don’t throw the stem/stalk of your broccoli away. The thick stem you get with the calebrese variety of broccoli is full of goodness and tasty. Chop away the thick woody outside layer, then chop into chunks or whatever shape you like and cook long with the heads of broccoli.
Fun Food Facts
- the fastest marathon by a runner wearing a banana costume is 2 hours 58 minutes and 20 seconds, achieved at the 2011 Barcelona marathon
- just south of Palm Springs in California is the Banana Club Museum. It contains 17,000 banana related items
- 75% of a banana’s weight is water
- beetroot is a traditional food eaten at Roah Hashanah, the Jewish New Year
- you can make a wine from beetroot which has a similar taste to port.
- beetroot has been used as a natural hair dye for centuries
- to eliminate the smell of broccoli when it is cooking, add a slice of bread to the pot
- the World Record for eating 1 lb broccoli is 92 seconds (www.mobilecuisine.com 2017)