The holiday season is a busy time for most kitchens and ours is no exception! I remember as a young girl, my mother started weeks before Christmas making lemon bars, peanut butter balls, blonde brownies, chocolate and peanut butter fudges, cookies, pies, etc in preparation for an annual open house she would hold every December for friends and family. Thinking of the holidays brings such wonderful memories of my childhood. Now that my parents are in their 80s and no longer as active, it was Mom’s love of entertaining at the holidays that has always encouraged my love of cooking, and especially at this time of year!
Today is Christmas Day 2019. As I sit in my chair listening to music and waiting for the roast lamb to cook in the oven (for dinner), I decided to take some time out today to share one of my mother’s recipes: banana bread. We always had it every Christmas. Now – all year long – whenever I have extra bananas beginning to get too ripe, I’d peel them and dump the flesh of 6 of them into a freezer bag and freeze them, ready for the holiday baking! Last week I took a bag out of the freezer and made up two loaves of banana bread using my mother’s old recipe (doubled). We kept one loaf for ourselves and shared the other with co-workers. This one has NO nuts, but you can always add them if you wish. Enjoy!
MOM’S BANANA BREAD RECIPE: (makes 2 loaves)
3 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 C sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 C bananas (about 6 bananas)
2/3 C butter (softened)
1/2 C milk
In a large bowl, combine mashed bananas, softened butter, milk and eggs.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Add all other ingredients into banana mixture, mixing well. Batter will be thick and lumpy.
Grease two regular-sized loaf pans. I use an oil spritzer, but you can also use the wrapper off of the softened butter and spread it around the pan to grease it.
Pour batter into two greased loaf pans, dividing evenly. This should only fill each pan up about halfway.
Place loaves into a 350ºF oven and bake for 1 hour.
When finished, let it cool completely before removing from pans.
BEFORE SERVING: This is an important step. Once cooled and removed from pan, place banana loaves into individual bags or wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before slicing and serving!
Serving suggestion: Cut into slices and decoratively spread onto serving tray, sprinkling arranged slices with powdered sugar just before serving.
HOW TO PRESERVE YOUR BREAD FOR LONG-TERM SHELF LIFE:
After making the batter, spray the inside of pint-sized, wide mouth canning jars with cooking spray. I use an olive oil spritzer. You can use butter, or store-bought non-stick spray if you wish, but I’d keep it as natural as possible. You don’t want preservatives and/or chemicals going into your homemade canned goods.
Fill the jars HALF WAY with the batter. Clean off any batter drippings from the edge of the jar.
Place jars on a large baking pan and bake in the oven as normal, adjusting time according to your oven and jar size. Rule of thumb: follow the recipe, but before the full time for baking finishes, check the bread for doneness by sticking a sharp knife in the center of a couple of jars. If the knife comes out clean, they are done: remove them from the oven.
A few minutes before baking is finished, bring the canning lids to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Keep the lids hot.
When the bread is done, immediately clean/scrape off any baked batter residue that inadvertently ended up on the edges of any jars. You want the jars clean so the lid has good contact with the jar, for sealing.
Apply lids and rings to hot jars, and set aside to cool. That’s it! If using regular canning lids, you’ll hear the tell-tale “ping” when the jars are sealed.
Experiment with your favorite baked goodie, and preserve them this way to enjoy all year long!