Use up manky frozen bananas in freezer
Every time I open my freezer, I’ve been greeted by the sight of several bags full of frozen over-ripe bananas that I lovingly chopped up months ago, because a) they were turning manky and nobody would eat them, b) I read somewhere that over-ripe bananas freeze well should you ever want to use them in baking and c) I have very good intentions of being one of those mothers who offers their children freshly, home-baked goods every day for afternoon tea. But as many previous attempts at baking have been met with abject failure, they’ve been sitting there, mocking me whenever I open the door (along with a bunch of exotic meat products I bought long ago with the misguided notion that I’d know what the hell to do with them once I get them home). As if it’s not disheartening enough to be mocked by the contents of your white goods, my fridge/freezer also beeps loudly at me from the moment I open the door until I close it. It’s enough to make a girl feel very insecure.
So it was time to be proactive and put those ‘nanas to use! I found a tasty sounding recipe for banana spice muffins on Kidspot and went on a special shopping expedition to get ingredients. Yes, I know, I should have thought of it while I was meal planning, but I didn’t get around to meal planning this week. *coughs sheepishly*
My first drama began when I took a look at my defrosted bananas. Eeuww! They had turned a decidedly unappealing shade of grey/brown and were swimming in a large quantity of highly unappetising brown liquid.
Was this normal? Had my frozen bananas been languishing too long in the freezer? Did I need to drain the liquid away? Or was the liquid the best part and essential for muffin moistness? (And is it possible to look at the words ‘muffin moistness’ and not giggle naughtily?)
Now typically, I might have just quit while I was behind, but this was the new, on-the-road-to-improvement me (don’t mention the meal planning, all right?!), so I was determined to persevere. Realising I had the wealth of knowledge of Kidspot’s amazing Food Editor Jen Cheung at my disposal, I pumped her for info.
She assured me that I should ‘mash and mix, then use the lot’, adding, ‘the liquid is due to the freezing process breaking the cell walls in the fruit. You want that liquid for a nice moist muffin.’ (Snigger.)
Problem number two: Mister Four was desperate to help. Didn’t have the heart to tell him that my own lack of culinary skills were enough of a handicap without adding him to the mix, so I put him to work putting muffin cases in muffin holes. But no, he wanted to crack the eggs. I tried to assist by semi-cracking one before giving it to him and naturally within moments he’d exploded the egg all over himself, the side of the bench and my toes… but with just enough going into the actual bowl to ensure there would now be the wrong amount of eggs in there. The recipe called for two eggs – if I added one more, there wouldn’t be enough, if I added two more, there’d be too many. What to do?!
Once we had cleaned up Etienne (note to self: take off school uniform and put on apron BEFORE starting cooking) and fished out the yolk from between my toes, we ploughed on. In a moment of creative and mathematical genius, I cracked open two eggs, but left out roughly the same amount that had landed on us all.
It all went pretty well from there, apart from Etienne’s disbelief when I told him it was time to pour in the manky bananas. ‘THAT’s going in?’ he cried. ‘Eeeuw, that’s disgusting!’
‘Don’t worry, it’s just because the cell walls in the banana have broken down!’ I said airily.
‘It’s DISGUSTING!’ Etienne reaffirmed. (As you can (kind of) see below in my beautifully blurry picture.)
Let’s just say by this stage my hopes weren’t high, particularly when I got stuck on hold on a call to Telstra and nearly forgot to take them out of the oven altogether… but I have to say, they turned out pretty dang good! Both fusspot children tucked in and even brutally honest husband gave them the thumbs up. Woot!
Lessons Learnt: If you don’t know something, ask a cleverer person. AND… Even the mankiest-looking bananas will still taste yum once the oven has worked its magic on them.