Jump the Banana Bandwagon

The Summer Solstice may have just ended, but here in Southern California the heat hasn't subsided--and neither has our craving for cold. This one-ingredient "ice-cream" has taken the world by storm but until the rainy season arrives, it'll keep you cool. All you need is a bunch of bananas and a food processor (though at least one smart blogger has come up with an ingenious low-tech alternative: squishing).

Simply peel and cut some ripe bananas into chunks, freeze 'em for a couple of hours, and then blend, blend, blend (or, squish, squish, squish). Thanks to the naturally occurring pectin which binds the bananas into creamy lusciousness, the result is pure magic and the banana flavor only subtle. Serve immediately or store in your freezer.

When the fancy strikes, create a banana sundae bar with classic toppings such as hot fudge, maraschino cherries, sliced strawberries and chocolate chips. Or get fancy and use some locally-inspired toppings like toasted California walnuts, seasonal fruit, fresh crushed raspberries, or Japanese mini mochi (available in most Asian markets such as Koreatown's Galleria Market). Try adding a couple of dollops of native Angeleno Jessica Koslow's Wild Blueberry + Tarragon jam, or any other locally-sourced variety she makes under the label Sqirl. You can also alter the flavor of the base with a couple of spoons of your favorite nut butter (that includes Nutella) or a few drops of peppermint oil (think banana mint chip). Impress your friends with your "ice cream" making skills. And don't even bother to tell them its vegan.

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Banana "Ice Cream"
1 bunch of bananas, fairly ripe (3-12, depending on the size of your processor or your belly)

Peel bananas.

Cut into 1-inch pieces and lay them out on a plate or baking tray in the freezer for a couple of hours (or longer, but then let them defrost for a few minutes).

Blend (or squish in a sealed plastic bag) the semi-frozen chunks in your food processor until the magic happens and it looks (and tastes) like soft serve ice cream.

Serve immediately with or without toppings or store in the freezer in a sealed container and defrost for a few minutes before stirring with a spoon or re-blending when ready to eat.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn.

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