The original pre-packaged 100 calorie snack – without all of the preservatives, food coloring, and artificial flavors!
nutritional profile of bananas.
Bananas are known to be a good source of potassium, a mineral important for staying hydrated and preventing muscle cramps. What many people don’t know is that bananas are also a good source of magnesium, which is more often the mineral deficiency to blame for muscle cramping.
Typical modern diets are high in sodium, and low in potassium. For the body to function optimally, these two minerals must be balanced (the ideal sodium to potassium ratio is 1:2 for proper balance of cellular fluid). Boost your potassium intake with bananas!
Bananas are also rich in B vitamins (especially B6), vitamin C, fiber, and phosphorus. The nutrition facts displayed here are for 1 medium banana (nutrient info. from the USDA nutrient database).
Bananas can be purchased at all stages of ripeness. Green bananas are very starchy and are difficult to digest raw, so they are typically cooked much like a vegetable. As the banana begins to yellow, the starches convert to sugars and the banana becomes more palatable, sweeter, and creamier. I like to buy yellow bananas with green tips so that we can eat a few right away but we have time to continue eating them throughout the week before they get too brown for our taste. When the banana is completely brown, it is very sweet and the texture is very soft. Brown bananas are great for baking and smoothies.
Typically, bananas are simply stored on the counter. Ripening fruits give off ethylene gas which promote further ripening, so if you don’t want your bananas to ripen too quickly, keep them separated from other fruits. Some people swear by separating the bananas from the bunch and/or wrapping the stems tightly with plastic wrap to delay ripening, but I have not noticed that this makes a whole lot of difference.
If your bananas are “just right” and you’d like to stall their ripening but still eat them fresh, store them in the refrigerator. The skins will likely turn brown, but the fruit inside will remain unchanged for a few days. Do not use the refrigerator for storage if the bananas are not yet ripe as they will most often not get any riper even when removed from the fridge.
If you’d like to speed up the ripening process, place them in a paper bag. Adding an apple or tomato to the bag will speed ripening even more because of the increase in ethylene gas.
If you’re not wanting to eat them fresh, bananas also store well in the freezer (use them for baking or smoothies). Peel the bananas, freeze them separately on a tray so they don’t stick together, then containerize and freeze (will keep for several months).
Bananas are most often eaten raw. Eat them by themselves, slice them up with other fruits, dip them in nut/seed butters (or chocolate!), or use them in smoothies. Very ripe bananas make great additions to smoothies and baked goods.