When life gives frugal vegans spoiled bananas, they make banana ice cream!

October 4th, 2011 10:23 am by Kelly Garbato

2011-09-12 - Browning Bananas - 0002

Frugal vegans don’t waste food! Food waste on both the personal and institutional levels is a distressing problem: a 1995 estimate put our food waste at 27% of all edible food, while a more recent 2003 study found that the average American household throws out 14% of all food brought into the house. Among the many strategies I outlined for avoiding food waste during last year’s veganmofo – freezing extra baked goods, sharing with others and dumpster diving, to name a few – was freezing surplus or soon-to-spoil fruits and veggies. Banana ice cream – made from overly ripe, frozen bananas – is a delicious subset of this tip that deserves further exploration, especially given its popularity this year!

As fruit ripens, its sugar content changes; it becomes sweeter, softer, and less green:

The process of ripening is controlled by the plant hormone called ethylene, which is a gas created by plants from the amino acid called methionine. A plant hormone is a chemical that regulates growth and other processes. Storing fruit in a closed container keeps the ethylene from drifting away and can increase the rate at which the fruit ripens. Ethylene increases the intracellular levels of certain enzymes in fruit. Enzymes are proteins that make certain chemical reactions occur faster than they normally would. The key enzymes involved in fruit ripening are amylase and pectinase. Amylase breaks down starch to produce simple sugars, so is responsible for the increasing sweetness of a ripening fruit. Pectinase breaks down pectin, a substance that keeps fruit hard, so is responsible for the increasing softness of ripening fruit. Other enzymes cause the color of the fruit to change by breaking down chlorophyll (which is green) and replacing it with pigments that are yellow, red, or other colors.

This process is evident in bananas, which turn from bitter to sweet as their peels change in color from greenish-yellow to yellow, and then gradually develop brown spots. Wait too long to crack the peel, and you’ll be greeted with a mushy, sugary mess (and possibly a swarm of fruit flies, to boot!). While many a banana has been tossed due to over-ripeness, because of their sugar content – as well as the way in which freezing alters their texture – brown bananas make the perfect base for nondairy ice cream. Better yet, this frozen treat can be made in a blender or food processor, no ice cream machine required! (Though I do love my ice cream maker like a member of the family.)

Banana ice cream is a great way to use up “accidentally spoiled” bananas – but if you’re anything like me, you’ll soon find yourself buying yellow bananas and allowing them to turn brown, just so you can make another batch of banana ice cream! However you come across them, preparing your over-ripe bananas for ice cream is simple: simply peel and slice them, then transfer them to an airtight container and store in the freezer until ready for use. Next, you’ll need a recipe; here are a few of my favorites to get you started!

  • two-ingredient ice cream, strawberry pecan ice cream and breakfast banana ice cream – All from hipsterfood, who tipped me off to the latest craze in vegan desserts.
  • Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches – Creamed, frozen bananas sandwiched between two vegan peanut butter cookies? Sign me up!
  • Banana Bread Soft Serve Ice Cream – Like chocolate chip banana bread, but frozen! My most favorite of the bunch, hands down.

    2011-07-27 - Banana Bread Soft Serve - 0022
  • Chocolate Almond Banana Soft Serve Ice Cream – Inspired by these Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from the PPK.

    2011-08-01 - Chocolate Banana Ice Cream - 0003
  • Blueberry Banana Ice Cream – Flavored with blueberry sauce, which was made using (wait for it!) soon-to-spoil blueberries!

    2011-09-02 - Banana Blueberry Ice Cream - 0025
  • Banana ice cream on fuck yeah vegan ice cream – A little self-promotion never hurt anyone, wink.

    …and if all goes as planned, I should have at least two more banana ice cream recipes to share with y’all during veganmofo, so keep your eyes peeled. (Peeled! Get it?)

    For more tips and tricks for using up brown bananas, check out The Magic of Frozen Bananas on Care2.

    What’s your favorite way to rescue “spoiled” bananas from the compost pile?

    Vegan MoFo 2011 logo banner

    Be Sociable, Share!

    Filed under , , , , , , ,

  • 3 Responses to “When life gives frugal vegans spoiled bananas, they make banana ice cream!”

    1. carlene Says:

      Thanks for including my vegan pb cookies and banana sandwiches!

    2. corrina Says:

      i love banana ice cream! these all look amazing.

    Leave a Reply