What to do with bananas that are past their best

In my family we eat bananas by the fruit bowl.  Both my children have a banana for breakfast every day and I often do as well.  My husband has a bunch to munch on at work and we are always buying bananas.  Sometimes however we don’t stick to our usual schedule and the mountain of bananas which populate our fruit bowl each week don’t always get eaten in time.  The skins start going speckly and black, the bananas get mushy and unless something is done with them fairly quickly, all they are good for is the compost heap.  This isn’t often a problem for us, as we have normally eaten them before they reach this stage, but when it is I remind myself of some of the things I loved when I was a child, particularly in the summer.  Even when it is cold outside though, these recipes transport me to warmer, sunnier, carefree times.
Ok here goes:
1. Barbequed chocolate bananas
If you haven’t ever tried one of these you really should, they are delicious.  You take a banana, keep it in it’s skin and slice it lengthways down the middle.  Break up a nice bar of chocolate and insert a few pieces into the middle of the banana.  Wrap the whole thing up in foil and put it on the BBQ for around 10 to 15 minutes (depending on how hot the BBQ is).  We usually put them amongst the coals, as by that time they have started cooling down.  There is nothing to say that you can’t make this dessert in the oven during the winter though and it is a great way to use up over ripe bananas. 
2. Frozen bananas lollipops.
These are great.  I loved them so much when I was a kid and they are perfect for over ripe bananas.  Basically what you do is insert a lollipop stick into a banana (I like to cut the bananas in half).  Place them on a tray in the freezer i.e. open freeze them, then once they are frozen you can put them in a container (this way they won’t stick together). 
My mum used to melt chocolate and dip the bananas in the chocolate before freezing, which was delicious.  You could also dip the banana in chocolate and then something like chopped nuts or hundreds and thousands – I’m sure there are hundreds of toppings you could try – let me know what you like.
3.  Frozen banana coins.
This a variation on frozen banana lollipops and a more recent recipe in my household.  All you do is slice the bananas and freeze them in slices.  If you wanted to keep them all separate then again open freeze them on a tray and then decant into a freezer proof (preferably reusable) container.  You could dip the slices in chocolate and other toppings and eat like frozen sweets, or you could use them in fruit pies or crumbles.  You could even blend them with yoghurt to make a quick banana flavoured frozen yoghurt.
4. Banana milkshake.
This is a particularly good when you also have an excess of milk which is about to go off.  Just combine the bananas and the milk in a jug (use your judgement about how much milk to add – might be best to add a little at a time, as you can always add more later), blitz with a hand blender (or put into a blender and whiz) and either put it back in the fridge for later or drink it.  Some people like to add icecream, yoghurt or crushed ice into the mix – try it and see what works best for you.

5. Bananas on toast.

It is as simple as it sounds – chop up some bananas and spread them on buttered toast – delicious!  Makes a great breakfast or snack and I loved it when I was a kid.

What do you with your over-ripe bananas? 

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