With spring quickly coming to an end, and the heat of summer taking over, we all have one thing on our minds: ice cream. Whether your preference is in season fruit-filled flavours, or classic creamy chocolate and vanilla swirls, on cones or in cups, you can not deny that when the heat hits, it’s the best choice in the sense of satisfying your sweet tooth as well as cooling you off. Ice cream shops and ice cream stands are staple in most places, and of course you can get your treat on the go for enjoying later in the comfort of your own home. However, summer also tends to be the time many people opt for crash diets with goals of losing those “last five pounds” or having their ideal “bikini bodies”. So with a more calorie conscious mindset simultaneously rising with the craving for ice cool creamy treats, it is best to look for some sort of compromise. This homemade banana ‘ice cream’ is both delicious and healthy, an amazing frozen treat for the hot summer weather!
Ice cream can also be heavy for many people, especially in the heat, as it is usually made with milk and cream, and is loaded with more sugar or sweeteners than you may realize. Ice cream can contain sugar, corn syrup, cane sugar, beet sugar, as well as many other sweeteners. The dairy in it as well is of course not suitable for vegans, as well as those who have a lactose intolerance and/or milk allergy.
While there are more and more options for frozen treats you can make at home, most tend to focus on Popsicle style ideas you can make in ice cube trays, or even ones you can add alcohol to for parties. However, when you want something cool as well as creamy, one fruit is definitely the main focus when it comes to homemade recipes: bananas.
See also: Delicious Anthill Caramel Cake Recipe
Bananas, deliciously sweet as well as rich and creamy, are one of the best substitutes in terms of ice creams you can make at home. They contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, biotin, manganese, and of course potassium—the mineral it is best known for having! As they are sweet, bananas of course do contain sugar, however, they also contain fibre, which helps to keep our blood sugar levels in check and regulated. As they also contain a good mix of minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fibre, and of course specifically electrolytes (potassium), they are a favourtie go-to option for many athletes or physically active people for boosting energy levels and to deter the prevalence of muscle cramps, as that can be a sign of low electrolyte levels. So banana based ice cream is not only a delicious treat suitable for vegans and those who have trouble digesting dairy products, but also a great option for those active and busy summer days!
When choosing bananas, most people opt for a bunch with some bananas close to being perfectly ripe, and others still having some green left to them to make sure they do not go bad quickly and can last throughout a week. However, with banana ice cream in mind, it is best to get ones that are just ripe and soft, but still not brown or mushy of course! While there will be two options for this treat—one for those who do not have a blender or food processor and one for those who do, in both cases, they will have to be frozen as soon as possible so it is best that they are ripened to begin with.
After buying some ripened bananas, in both cases of preparation, the next step is to choose the amount you want to freeze. Many online recipes usually recommend four bananas, as it is enough to treat as a ‘trial’, but also enough to enjoy for a few days, or one or two times with some friends. You simply need to peel all the bananas you wish to freeze, and then chop them into smaller pieces, put them in a bag you can close fully or in a jar, and keep them in the freezer until they are completely frozen.
The next steps will depend on whether or not your have a blender or food processor:
For those who do not, making banana ‘ice cream’ is extremely simple, and it may seem too good to be true, but once you try it you can see for yourself! After you have frozen your bite-size banana slices, remove them from the freezer, put the amount you want in a bowl or plate, put some of the toppings (options below), and enjoy! When bananas are frozen, it brings out the rich creaminess found in them, and you will notice that flavour right away. While it may not have the texture of ice cream (which can really only be done with the help of kitchen appliances), the taste is still fantastic and a great alternative!
For those with a blender or food processor, there are just a few more steps to go in order to have your delicious dessert ready! Once your frozen banana slices are done, remove them from the freezer and put the contents in either your blender or food processor. You can add some dairy-free milk options (almond or rice would work well) to keep the blending or processing smooth and to add to the creaminess of the final product. Blend or process the bananas until they are smooth: this may require you to stop and start a couple of times and stir everything in. Once it is smooth, you can transfer it to a container with a lid and keep it in the freezer. Once blended or processed, however, it is ready to eat so you can make it and enjoy it right away as well!
Although this recipe—especially the blended or processed version, is very similar to ice cream itself, there is always room for more add-ons and toppings to really perfect it and in order to keep things interesting every time you make it! You can add some cacao powder and/or cinnamon while blending or processing the bananas for delicious alternatives. Once it is ready, you can then top it with fresh berries, toasted nuts or seeds, or with toppings such as coconut flakes or cut up dates for an extra touch of sweetness!
Whatever your preference, opt for homemade banana ice cream and enjoy a cool, creamy, and refreshingly healthy alternative to ice cream any time of the year!
Photo courtesy of forksoverknives.com