The pandemic was a reason to be distracted from everyday life and, at the same time, a way to focus our attention on things that matter more in our lives. An example of what I mean is cooking some home-baked sweets for ourselves and our family. Didn’t you get the feeling that every person on the planet cooked at least one banana bread during the pandemic? Social media was full of videos of people baking and eating this great cake.
Those of us who were lucky enough to grow up in a home where cooking sweets was a tradition will remember how flavored, happy, and delicious-smelling the whole house got when our mother started baking. We really didn’t have that many shops in my little hometown when I was a child, so she didn’t have a choice but make cakes herself. That didn’t seem to bother her, she loved baking and still does. Growing up, I started understanding why she actually preferred cooking from scratch. Even though now I can just go to a supermarket and buy some banana bread or order it from delivery services, nothing beats the cozy smell the whole house gets when you cook it yourself.
I still get that fuzzy, familiar feeling when I smell some cinnamon, banana, ginger, vanilla or other delicious flavors. Funny how smell is so good at teleporting us into our childhood. If you do not have such memories, maybe it is time to start them for yourself (if you live alone) or your family.
My mother was and still is an expert in home-baked goods and even if now we have hundreds of pastry shops and coffee shops in our town she insists on making them from zero every week. She sends food and home-baked banana bread to me and my sister, in another city, every Sunday. Since learning how to use the Internet she got really good at trying new things periodically. Right now, she has developed a passion for Simply Recipes and loves trying out their banana bread ideas.
Bananas, why do we love them?
Apparently, bananas are the 4th most important cultured plant in the world after rice, wheat, and corn. Besides being a way to make a living for many farmers around the world, this sweet fruit has many health benefits for those who like eating it raw or cooked:
- Fibers – one banana can provide up to 7% of the daily recommended dose of fiber. This helps our digestive tract and prevents constipation.
- Potassium – do you remember, when we were kids, how we thought eating a ton of bananas would kill you because of potassium? Guess what, it is true. But who eats a ton of bananas? The 358 mg average amount of potassium in one banana will not kill you but will provide a good quantity of this important mineral for our bodies.
- High in calories, and low in fats – with 90 calories per 100g, a banana is a great way to pack some energy for day-to-day tasks. In what concerns banana bread calories, you can calculate them per slice according to the number of bananas and other ingredients you use.
- Vitamin B6 – an average-sized banana can provide around 28% of the daily needs of B6 for an adult. A very important vitamin for our nervous and circulatory systems, helping us prevent diseases such as neuritis, anemia, strokes or myocardial infarctions. Pretty cool, I’d say.
- Vitamin C – you will not get as much Vitamin C from a banana as you may get from other fruits such as citruses, but every amount counts, right?
Banana bread everywhere
This delicious cake is the perfect snack to take with you everywhere in your bag. It will not make any mess, it will keep its shape and it will not change its taste during the day. Just put some slices in a paper bag and you are good to go. Here are some examples of situations where banana bread is a life saver:
1. Enjoy banana bread at work when you don’t have time to eat a full meal.
I have been eating banana bread at work since I started my medical career and I have to say it is a great way to have a snack on the go between studying microbiological samples. I don’t know if everybody knows this, but you are not allowed to have food or beverages in the laboratory. So, if a little hunger strikes before lunch, I can just go to my bag and enjoy a slice of deliciousness for 2 minutes. After that, I am good to go!
2. One of the best types of cakes for coffee
I don’t know about you, but my morning coffee needs to have a pastry or a slice of cake on the side. On my way to work, I have a small park with benches where I take 10 minutes for myself to enjoy a coffee and a little breakfast before starting my shift. Home-baked goods are the best choice to pair with great coffee, and most of the time I choose a slice of banana bread or a butter croissant.
3. Snacks for kids
Even though I don’t have kids of my own yet, I remember being one and wanting snacks all the time. The trouble is that if you don’t find a healthy snack to give your children they will buy processed sweets. Another major trouble for parents wanting to pack healthy snacks for their kids is the packaging: yogurt will drip inside the bag, simple bananas or other fruits will become smushy and any semi-solid food put in a tupperware will eventually fall inside the backpack and destroy all the little one’s belongings. Sure, you can always try cookies, apples or protein bars. Banana bread is a magic, healthy cake that stays put inside a paper bag and remains delicious and fresh all day long. Moreover, kids love the taste.
How long does banana bread last?
I always wondered how long does banana bread last because I can never measure the time until it goes bad. Usually, when I cook fresh banana bread, it will have been eaten in less than 3 days.
So, how long is banana bread good for? According to other banana bread enthusiasts online, you can keep banana bread fresh for up to 3 or 4 days on the counter and up to 7 days if you refrigerate it. The biggest problem is keeping it moist because, like all cakes, it gets hard and dehydrated because of water evaporation if not packed properly. Avoid this problem by using an airtight container or some reusable sticky plastic wrap.
Store-bought varieties, such as Trader Joe’s banana bread, will have a best before date on the wrap.
Can you freeze banana bread?
Guess what! The answer is yes, you can freeze banana bread and it will be just as delicious when you take it out of the freezer as the day you cooked it. You just have to wrap it in reusable plastic or some paper bag and date it. You can keep banana bread in the freezer for up to 4 months.
*Secret tip: slice the banana bread before freezing! This way, it will be easier to defrost just one or two slices if you don’t need to take out the whole cake.
When defrosting it, you can just let it in the refrigerator or on the counter, wrapped or unwrapped, until it reaches room temperature. If you are not very patient and want your slice right then and there, you can defrost it by placing it in the microwave for 20 seconds. Works like a charm!
How many types of banana bread are there?
To my knowledge, there are at least 50 variations of banana bread, all of them delicious and easy to prepare. Some ways to spice up your recipe are:
- add other fruits to the recipe: apples or blueberries are great ideas.
- add chocolate chips or chocolate/cacao powder to get chocolate chips banana bread and chocolate banana bread.
- peanut butter fans can combine this delicious ingredient to obtain a next-level banana bread for themselves and their loved ones.
- add Nutella to the mix to get another favorite: Nutella banana bread.
- add nuts for a crunchy feeling, not to mention the added health benefits.
- add raisins and rum to obtain an even more flavored result.
What is the most basic, simple recipe for banana bread?
It’s always good to know the basics if you want to spice up the recipe. Sometimes you just want to do you and let your creativity run wild in the kitchen. In the end, I am sure this was the way towards all the crazy, delicious recipes we get to cook nowadays. The basic, simple recipe for banana bread is as follows:
- 2 or 3 medium, ripe bananas
- 1 and a half cups of flour
- ⅓ cup butter
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup of sugar (you can add more if you want a sweeter cake)
- 1 egg
- vanilla extract to your taste
- 1 pinch of salt
Make the cake:
- preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit before, so you don’t waste any time;
- mash the bananas and the butter together using a fork or a mixer;
- add the rest of the recipes as follows: the egg (beaten), baking soda, salt, sugar, vanilla extract, and flour; if you feel creative, you can add any other ingredients during this step;
- mix everything together until thoroughly combined;
- butter up your favorite pan and pour the whole mix inside, slowly; if you want to add any other solid ingredients, you can just throw them on top after pouring the ingredients (apple pieces, blueberries, chocolate chips etc.);
- bake for almost one hour until thoroughly cooked. You can use the toothpick method to see if it is ready or just trust your intuition.
Banana bread recipes
When I search for new recipes online I tend to be attracted to bloggers/vloggers who seem very authentic. It is hard to describe, but I am sure you know what I mean. Do you know how some websites give a very plastic, strange feeling when you visit them? It’s like they are sterile, lifeless. I tend to stay away from those and enjoy choosing recipes from someone who gives out a familiar, cozy vibe. I love feeling like I am in their kitchen when I watch or read a recipe and enjoy being “treated” as a friend. Some of the banana bread recipes on my list are the following:
- Simply Recipes banana bread
One bowl banana bread
Having just one bowl to clean after cooking anything is a “sell” for me. When I saw this title I knew I had to give it a try and, what do you know, everything turned out delicious.
Gluten free Simply Recipes banana bread
Gluten intolerance (or Caeliac disease) is no joke. Many people suffer from it around the world. This doesn’t mean that our gluten-intolerant friends cannot enjoy banana bread. Having a gluten-free recipe that is also delicious is a must. I wanted to include it here for all of us to enjoy a great dessert together.
Cream cheese banana bread
My mom tried this recipe and love it. Now I have no choice but to share it on my blog :). I promise I will try it, too. I bet I will love it. Who can stay away from a recipe with cream cheese?
- Cookie and Kate banana bread
Healthy banana bread
For those of us who prefer cooking with ingredients such as whole wheat flour, honey or maple syrup instead of sugar and unrefined oils instead of butter, this recipe is a great way of doing all these changes without sacrificing the final taste. You can have it all!
Maple-sweetened banana muffins
Muffins are a great way to create individual portions of banana bread. Slices are great, but sometimes you just want your favorite cake in a different shape. Or is it just me? 🙂
- Smitten kitchen banana bread
If you have 5 ripe bananas just sitting around, waiting to go bad, just try this recipe. It might just turn out sweeter than you thought, but most of it is just from the fruits.
- Sally’s Baking Addiction banana bread
I liked this recipe because the video showing us how to make this simple cake is very well-made. Even though it is a simple banana bread recipe, I feel that the final result will be beyond expectations.
- Moist banana bread – Natasha’s kitchen banana bread
Nobody likes a dehydrated, hard banana bread. Moisture is a very important characteristic and retaining it is a very big problem for us, banana bread lovers. Thus, finding a recipe that teaches us how to bake a moist version of our favorite cake was something I could not just pass by. You are welcome!
- No baking soda banana bread from Julie Blanner
Some people do not like the taste of baking soda. I have to admit, there are some cakes where I do not like it, but not this one. I tried this banana bread without baking soda recipe out of curiosity for my sister and me and I have to admit it was tastier than I expected. If you feel the same, you can give it a try :).
- Janet’s rich banana bead
I found Janet’s rich banana bread recipe by chance and I was impressed by the fact that it has sour cream as an ingredient. It felt quite unusual, but I went with it. I have to admit, in the end, it was very tasty. Also, adding walnuts to banana bread makes it not only tastier and healthier, but also very homey.
- Old-fashioned banana bread like your grandmother used to make
How can anyone resist a recipe that has the word “grandmother” in the title? This is a banana bread that can be cooked using simple ingredients from anybody’s pantry, just like grandma used to make. Nothing goes to waste, right?
- Chocolate Chip banana bread by Melissa Stadler
Who can say no to a delicious chocolate chip anything? Moreover, when talking about banana breads, chocolate chips are a great way to make them tastier and moister.
- Chocolate Banana Bread by Two Peas in a Pod
There are some children who would put chocolate flavor in any recipe. Those children grow up and become adults who, obviously, do the same thing. If you think this description fits you, then you are in great luck today! This recipe was made just for you!