There are so many ways to enjoy bananas. You can make banana pancakes, banana muffins, banana waffles , banana ice cream, banana loaf, banana cake...the list goes on and on. In fact, Dole has compiled 366 different ways to use bananas. As a way to encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables this year, Dole has developed a program called "366 Ways to Go Bananas in 2012." Each day, through social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or the Web, Dole shares a new way to enjoy bananas. It might be a banana-themed recipe, serving suggestion, a fun seasonal top or trivia involving bananas in some way. For example, did you know you can polish your shoes with banana peel? Or that bananas can actually help you quit smoking? These are just some of the great tips that you'll learn through this great program. To follow, go to Twitter (@ DOLEBananas; the 366-special hashtag is #Go366) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/dolebananas).
In honour of Dole's 366 Ways to Go Bananas, I've developed this banana pudding recipe. It's a healthy snack made with bananas, milk, and sweetened with maple syrup (you could also use agave syrup or honey). I've also included some tasty variations using chocolate chips, or peanut butter, or of course Nutella. Both my boys loved this pudding, especially the chocolate one. The licked their cups clean! It's a great way to get them to eat fruit and milk, and so much healthier than store-bought banana pudding mix which can contain a lot of sugar and artificial flavours and colours. Sure, the colour of this pudding might look a little less appealing (it's slightly beige), but it tastes great. If your kids won't eat the plain banana version they may still like one of the other varieties.
Another great thing about bananas is they freeze so well, so it's easy to have bananas on hand all the time. I tend to buy more bananas than I need so that the ones that go unused and become overripe can go in the freezer to be used later. You can freeze them peel and all, then microwave them and squeeze them out of their skins to use in baked goods. You can also freeze peeled bananas cut into chunks to be used for things like smoothies or ice cream. So go ahead and use bananas as many ways as you can!
2 medium overripe bananas
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups milk
Blend bananas and lemon juice in a blender or with an immersion until smooth.. In a saucepan, whisk together the pureed bananas, maple syrup, cornstarch, and eggs. Slowly whisk in the milk until combined. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Then pour into cups or dishes and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator until pudding sets.
Immediately after removing from heat, stir in any of the following:
Chocolate Banana Pudding- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding- 1/4 cup of peanut butter and 1/3 cup chocolate chips.
Peanut Butter Banana Pudding- 1/4 cup of peanut butter
Nutella Banana Pudding- 1/4 cup nutella
Disclosure: I was not paid to write this post.