Join guest blogger Ramita Menon as she celebrates World Environment Day 2020 with the unlikeliest of ingredients: overripe bananas!
Everyone in our house loves fruits, especially in the summers. There are so many varieties in the market this season; each one has a unique taste that never fails to refresh us! Usually, we buy fruits everyday and consume it the very same day to ensure the freshness. However, there is a new normal we are all adjusting to.
We’ve been buying our fruits in bulk throughout the lockdown period. This is likely to continue even after the lockdown; we shouldn’t be roaming around if we can help it. But given that it is summer, fruits tend to spoil very quickly and a lot of them go to waste.
We do our best to avoid this. Some fruits can be refrigerated. Some are so good we immediately consume them. Some others are resilient and don’t spoil quickly even if we keep them in the open.
But the banana defies all these categories…
Buy some in the morning and by the same night—or in the best case scenario, by next morning—they turn black. Give it two days; they turn soggy and icky. You’ve got no option but to throw them away. Throughout the lockdown, at least two bananas end up looking like this from every batch that we’ve bought.
I feel extremely guilty when I have to throw bananas into the trash.
Can we compost them?
That’s an idea! Overripe bananas are already close to decomposition, and will melt into the soil and nourish plants within a couple days. You could dig up some soil in your kitchen garden or near a tree next to your house and just bury these bananas there.
But is that the best use of overripe bananas? A huge amount of resources—land, money, fertilizers and sweat—went into producing those fruits. Remember, they are just overripe, not rotten.
Isn’t letting edible food rot and turning them into compost a precious waste of those resources? I think so.
Use those overripe bananas: Turn them into a delicious banana walnut cake!
So I’ve come up with another solution. Embodying the principles of the 3Rs, here’s a recipe that whips these soggy masses of uneatable mess into a delicious cake.
This is what you will need (for a serving size of 6):
- 1.5 cup all-purpose refined/unrefined flour (maida/ aata)
- 1.5 tbsp baking powder
- 2 spoons sugar
- ½ tbsp vanilla essence
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder/drinking chocolate
- 1 cup curd
- 2 eggs (optional)
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp crushed sugar
- 3 overripe bananas (that’s been refrigerated for 24 hours)
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup crushed walnuts
Got everything with you? Great!
- Begin by adding the flour, baking powder, sugar and cocoa powder to a bowl and mix well.
- Sieve the mix of dry ingredients.
- Add vanilla essence, curd/eggs, and oil to the mixture and whip them well. You want to avoid lumps.
- Slowly add the milk as you whisk gently to make a smooth batter.
- Add a pinch of salt to the batter.
- In another bowl/plate, remove the peel and mash the overripe bananas.
- Add the mashed bananas in the batter and mix into the batter. You can mash by hand or use a blender for 5-10 seconds.
- Preheat the oven for 15 mins at 200°C
- Lace the cake pan with dry flour and grease it with oil. If you’ve got butter paper, even better; place the butter paper on the surface of the cake pan.
- Pour the cake batter into the pan and level it using a flat spatula.
- Sprinkle crushed walnuts on top of the batter.
- Bake in the over for 35 mins at 180°C.
- Remove and put a toothpick through the center, if it comes out clean, your cake is ready!
- Leave it out to cool.
- Once the cake cools to room temperature, invert it over another plate to remove from the pan.
- Serve it hot, maybe with some vanilla/chocolate ice-cream!
Not to brag, but this cake is so good you would want the bananas to get black and soggy!
An added bonus…
This cake can be made with flour, and has very little processed sugar (the bananas also give the cake some sweetness). While also making the best use of wasted food resources, this cake is an excellent dessert for all the health conscious dessert-lovers, fitness freaks and diabetics.
Let us bake this cake and cut this cake for Environment Day, shall we?
P.S: If you’ve not got an oven, I would encourage you add these overripe bananas into smoothies for your breakfast.
But if that doesn’t fancy you, do compost overripe bananas, which is the next best option. Bananas are not just a superfood for us!
Ramita Menon frolics her way through life by dancing, acting, and practicing yoga. You can read more about her and her work on her Facebook page and her Instagram page. If you are interested in trying out online yoga sessions, don’t hesitate to drop a message!