We, in America celebrate various days, not as holidays, but simply to emphasize a particular issue or to honor some facets of life that are indispensable. Quietly as we go about our work, these various issues and things are celebrated and bought into the limelight. So, we accord importance to mother’s by celebrating Mother’s Day, also Father’s Day, Brother’s and Sister’s day, Valentine’s Day, an entire day for your love, President’s Day and day’s to commemorate our vegetables and fruits. In this vein, February 23rd is National Banana Day, to honor the ubiquitous banana. Banana bread is a cake like sweet bread, whose main ingredient, you guessed it, are bananas. Banana bread is a quick bread, as yeast is replaced by baking soda. Banana bread gained in popularity somewhere in the 1930’s, probably due to easy usage of baking soda and baking powder. Banana bread at that time also merited a mention in the Pillsbury 1933 Balanced Recipe Cookbook and the recipe is credited to one William Swanson. Over the years, this simple recipe welcomed other exotic ingredients, in to its making but still retained its unique flavor. So we now have Blueberry banana bread, Spiced Pear banana bread, Dark Chocolate banana bread, Nutty banana bread, the combination's are endless and nearly all are tried on the National Banana Bread Day.
So why a banana bread day? To understand this you need to realize the many and varied benefits of the humble banana. Bananas are the most widely used fruits around the world; any corner of the world and you can depend on a banana to perk you up. Bananas are a quick source of energy, as they consist of sugars and have high fiber content. Bananas contain an amino acid, typtophen, which aids in fighting depression. So eat a banana and cheer up! Bananas help in keeping anemia at bay, due to its high iron content. Banana s are rich in fiber and hence ensures smooth bowel movements and on the other hand also helps to control diarrhea. 3 servings ofbananas a day helps stave off age related macular degeneration in adults. Bananas are rich in a compound fructooligosacchride which promotes the growth of good bacteria in the colon and also help in easier absorption of calcium. Indirectly, thereforebananas lead to healthier bones. Bananas also reduce the risk of cancer of the kidneys, reduce blood pressure, heartburn and alleviates stress. Bananas contain vitamin B12 and B6 as well as potassium and magnesium, which help reduce the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Bananas help in morning sickness, reduce stomach and mouth ulcers. The other main benefit of bananas is simply peel and eat. Banana peel is also used variously. Bananas are eaten in various stages, unripe bananas are used in cooking, yellow bananas are eaten as fruits, and bananas which have seen a few more days turn overripe and become spotted. Don’t throw these; they can be used for baking heavenly banana bread. To celebrate the multiple benefits of banana, we have a special day, the National Banana Bread day. On this day bananas, are cooked, baked and eaten, but the essence of the day is the baking of myriad banana bread dishes.
What would a Banana Bread day be without baking banana bread? Let us try a simple recipe before we move on to bigger and exotic ones. Try this recipe as it is to get perfect banana bread.
4 overripe bananas
1/3 cups melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg beaten lightly
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt 1.5 cup all purpose flour
Do not use a mixer for this recipe. Preheat oven to 350 degree F or 175 degree Celsius. Using wooden spoon mix butter, mashed bananas, in a large mixing bowl. Mix in sugar, egg, and vanilla, sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Finally add flour and lightly mix. Pour mixture into a greased 4 by 4 loaf pan. Bake for an hour. Cool on a rack. This bread can also be frozen. Alternatively you can use nuts like walnuts, pecan, chocolate chips, blueberries and whatever your imagination permits.