Going Bananas for Frozen ‘Nanas

I love ripe bananas, and so do my 4-year-old girls. They used to call them 'nanas…and sometimes still do just for laughs and giggles. As much as we love them, we sometimes have more than we can consume; the shelf life of a banana is limited. So when I get a bounty of ripe bananas, I turn to my freezer and look forward to the many ways we can enjoy this satisfying fruit.
 
Frozen bananas are perfect for smoothies; delicious dipped in dark chocolate and rolled into chopped nuts; and a satisfying, dairy-free alternative to cow's milk cream in “ice cream.” My latest frozen banana treat includes mandarin oranges, toasted coconut and a tangy citrus-chia vinaigrette.
 
Freezing Tips
Freezing is simple, but you’ve got to remove the skin or you’ll be stuck with a sticky mess as you try to separate the banana from the peel.
 
If I’ve only got a few, I peel the skin off and wrap each banana individually in cellophane or wax paper. Then, I place them in a zip-top bag and pop them in the freezer.
 
But when I have a bounty of bananas, this is what I do:

  • Peel the skin off each one.
  • Line up the bananas so they fit closely together and slice them into 1/4-inch pieces, four bananas at a time.
  • Layer the pieces onto a small baking sheet covered in cellophane or wax paper. If there are more than fit on a flat sheet, I simply layer rows of banana disks using cellophane or wax paper to separate each row.
  • Use an extra-large zip-top bag to seal them all extra-well to prevent freezer burn. Or, wrap several times in cellophane.

Once the bananas are frozen, I divide them into sandwich-sized bags for easier grab-and-go accessibility. About 24 slices per bag is equal to two medium bananas.
 


Frozen Banana Treat with Citrus-Chia Dressing

Recipe by Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD

Ingredients
1/2 cup sliced frozen bananas
1 mandarin orange, peeled and sectioned
Toasted unsweetened coconut
 
Citrus-Chia Vinaigrette
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup aged white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. soaked chia
Juice of an orange, to taste

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients for vinaigrette.
  2. Drizzle a tablespoon of the vinaigrette onto the chopped bananas and orange sections. Toss well to distribute flavors.
  3. Top with a tablespoon of toasted unsweetened coconut.
  4. The remaining vinaigrette can be used in a mixed green salad or with any combination of fresh fruit.
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Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD
Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD, is owner and nutritional consultant for Nutri Savvy, a lifestyle program with an intuitive sensory approach to food. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.