Farmer’s Table: Banana Cheesecake
Bananas are one of the most popular and widely consumed fruits in the world. They are a staple food crop for millions of people in developing countries. They are considered critical to global food security and serve as a valuable, year-round food source.
Bananas are transported over long distances, so they are often harvested before the fruit is mature. They must be handled carefully and transported at proper temperatures to prevent them from ripening too quickly.
Bananas were not widely available in the United States before refrigeration and rapid transport were developed. Since bananas grow in tropical and subtropical regions, they could not be shipped great distances due to their fragility. A few banana schooners would dock in seacoast towns during the late 19th century.
As bananas ripen, they produce ethylene, which affects the flavor by breaking down the starch to sugar. Green bananas will have more starch and will be less sweet. Bananas also soften as they ripen.
Wrapped in their own natural yellow packaging, bananas are a very convenient, healthy snack food. They contain many important nutrients, fiber and antioxidants. One banana contains about 100 calories and almost no fat.
In addition to being eaten raw, there are many ways to use bananas. They can be sliced and dehydrated to make banana chips. They can be steamed and made into curries. Mashed bananas can be used to make breads and cookies.
Bananas and banana puree can be frozen for up to two months. Lemon juice can be used to prevent discoloration.
1 graham cracker piecrust
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon butter
1 ripe banana, diced
½ tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small saucepan, toast pecans in melted butter. Spread over the bottom of the graham cracker piecrust.
In a small saucepan, combine bananas and lemon juice. Stir in brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until brown sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar. Add egg and mix until blended. Beat in vanilla extract.
Stir bananas into cream cheese mixture. Pour batter on top of crust.
Bake about 45 minutes, or until center is set. Remove cheesecake to counter to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate before serving.
Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.
For questions about recipes or other information, contact Susan Maslowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our websites at metrokanawha.com and putnamreview.com. Susan also has a Farmer’s Table Facebook page.