Why wait?

Margaret Eby
March 20, 2019
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Anna Theoktisto  

Seeing that the fruit you bought is about to cross the line from ripe to overripe isn't usually a cause for celebration. It means it's time to make inventive salad. But with bananas, I'm never bothered when one gets a little brown around the edges—that means banana bread is in my future. The sweetness and mushiness of overripe bananas doesn't make them an ideal snack but adds so much to the batter of banana bread.

Matt Aita, the executive chef of The Little Beet Table, serves gluten-free banana bread as an appetizer at brunch and breakfast. The mini loaves, served with hazelnut butter, are delicately sweet and so moist you would never guess that they were made with a gluten-free flour substitute. But having that many bananas on the edge of being perfectly overripe at all times can be a tall order, so Aita told me a useful tip for when you want to make banana bread but your bananas aren't quite ripe enough.

All you do is peel the bananas, place them on a sheet pan, and put them in a 300-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. "The slow roasting brings the sweetness of the bananas forward, which is what you want," Aita told me. It's a smart, easy way to make banana bread without keeping your eye on the banana for perfect doneness.

As for whether a banana can ever be too black or overripe to use for bread, you'd be surprised. Even if the interior is very mushy and the peel is black, as long as the banana doesn't have any mold growing on it, you're good to use it in your bread. Cut down on your banana waste and make more banana bread, and everyone wins.