Bananas

Well it’s been a really long time since I wrote on this blog. But I think I’ll try dusting it off and write when the spirit moves me. I started the blog as a way to document my time doing WWOOF (and traveling in Tanzania right after). I wasn’t sure how I felt about writing about different things on here. But who cares. I’d like an outlet to write, so why not here?

WordPress let me sign back into the account after so long and it even was super easy to change the template. I tried on a few different ones and I like this one the best.

Before doing WWOOF I thought maybe I’d really become a farmer after my experience. I’m sure some people intern longer and perhaps are then able to get a farm of their own going. I came back after my few months foray and briefly investigated something like garden educator positions at schools. But those seem few and far between. So instead I gravitated towards something more familiar and stable and got a masters in Library Science, trading in publishing in New York for working in libraries.  I hope someday to have the space to actually grow more stuff than apartment living affords. But for now I’m gardening indoors and in containers outside. I also like to travel and make things and cook. So maybe I can write about some of that too. I also enjoy celebrity gossip, but will probably leave that topic to some other blogs.

I thought I could write about 2 banana things today. 1. You can grow a banana plant indoors, even in New Jersey. 2. You can make ice cream out of bananas that is surprisingly delicious using a Yonanas machine.

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banana plant

Last summer my husband decided he wanted to grow a banana tree. I was pretty skeptical. I remember years ago passing a banana tree that grew outside this house near a lake in Michigan while visiting a friend’s summer cottage. But outside of that one example I had never seen one grown inside or outside in places where it snows. But apparently there are lots of types of bananas you can grow inside, including this one we’ve been tending to for not quite a year.  I can’t really take any credit for it. I’ll water it when it’s dry, but haven’t been an especially doting caretaker. The plant’s been mostly Dan’s project. So Dan ordered a dwarf cavendish last year from this website. With shipping the cost was around $20.  The plant was around a foot in size and since it was summertime could go right outside. It spent the summer growing and then when it got colder we brought it in, just like we do with the hibiscus plant, some of the herbs and 2 small roses. The hibiscus and roses both lose their leaves (and flowers) and then regrow them in the winter. When we put them back outside in the late spring they do the same thing.

Blooming rose

Blooming rose

But the banana plant didn’t go through this leaf- loss and just kept on growing. Dan repotted it recently and added some seashells to the base, which match it’s exotic look.  It has doubled in size since we got it.  The plant should grow to 6 feet and I’m sure it will be awhile until we actually get any bananas from it (if ever). Even without the fruit it’s a nice addition.

Last thing for this post: banana ice cream. I know you can make this in the blender too; I’m not sure how that consistency stacks up against the one I made in the Yonanas. But the ice cream that came out of this machine was surprisingly similar to soft serve and didn’t taste that banana-y. The bananas just add a sweetness and the overall taste took on more of the flavor of the frozen strawberries I added. I got this machine as a Christmas present and it sat in its box until recently. I had never heard of it before, and even though it looked cool from the box the combination of laziness and cold temps didn’t lure me to open it. But I’m glad we did. (Okay, Dan actually opened it and set it up probably because he was tired of seeing the box sit on top of the freezer for so long).

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All of the recipes are super easy. The one I made is: insert 1 frozen banana, insert some frozen strawberries, and insert another frozen banana. You plug the machine in, put the fruit in, push down on with the black insert that fits in the top, mix a tiny bit, and voila- ice cream!

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I’ve tried making dairy-free ice cream in the ice cream maker using soymilk. It was fine, but much more complicated, time consuming, and with a thinner consistency. The other good thing is bananas are very cheap, and I got even cheaper ripe bananas from the reduced produce section. They were perfect since it was better for them to be on the ripe end anyways. I’ve frozen bananas in little plastic bags before, but this time since I was freezing more I put them in a round glass Pyrex. They all fit easily.

The other recipe variations look intriguing- like coffee chocolate chip, or pumpkin pie (just 2 frozen bananas and spiced pumpkin frozen in 3 cubes). The frozen fruit combinations seem endless as well.

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