I BOUGHT a jumbo bag of bananas last week thinking I would concoct some marvellous creations for pancake day, but I forgot all about them and was left with a load of overripe fruit that nobody wanted.

So, I put them to good use and made a few loaves of banana bread which disappeared in no time – it’s amazing what a bit of butter and sugar can do to entice people!

Although I cannot claim that bananas are seasonal or local, they are definitely a staple item in most UK households. In fact, bananas are one of the most popular foods in the world with over 100 billion consumed each year.

The Cavendish banana is the most popular and widely recognised banana sold in our supermarkets but there are several varieties available; long, short, thin or thick-skinned, with yellow or red skins.

Generally speaking, bananas are picked whilst still green and under-ripe to allow them to ripen after shipping so that they reach the consumer at their peak. Whilst under-ripe bananas are edible, their flavour and texture is very different to those that have ripened. An over-ripe banana has an even sweeter flavour and slightly mushy texture which doesn’t appeal to everyone, but is perfect for cooking.

All bananas are extremely nutritious and are rich in potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and fibre. The rapid energy boost given by their high sugar levels means that they’re a great snack and a favourite of athletes.

What’s more, bananas are the only fruit that contains the amino acid tryptophan plus vitamin B6. This combination helps your body produce serotonin—a natural substance which lifts mood and makes you feel good. Sounds like a good excuse for banana bread to me!

I like to add a few raisins or chopped nuts to my banana bread to create more texture and flavour but leave them out if you’re not a fan. Serve plain or spread with butter, crème fraiche or jam. Tastes even better with a cup of tea.


Ingredients (makes one loaf)

200g self-raising flour (plain, wholemeal or a mix of both)

100g butter, plus a bit extra for greasing

3 ripe bananas, mashed

100g soft brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

½ tsp ground mixed spice

75g raisins, sultanas or chopped walnuts (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 180c/Gas 4 and lightly grease a 1litre loaf tin. Dust the sides of the tin with a little flour and tap to remove any excess.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the mixed spice.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs and mashed bananas and mix.

Fold the flour into the banana mixture, taking care not to over mix. Gently fold the raisins or nuts into the mixture if using.

Spoon into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes until golden and cooked through (check by inserting a knife or skewer into the middle – it should come out clean).

Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Slice and serve.