Can you eat bananas in a salad? Sure, if it’s this Banana Waldorf Salad. This “salad” is really more like a fruit salad, with heartier components. Think walnuts, raisins, grapes, and Greek yogurt. But why bananas? Let’s take a look.
All About Bananas
First things first: Bananas are one of the first foods we eat as babies. They’re a staple in just about every family kitchen; and they’re a great source of potassium and fiber.
Technically, the banana plant is not really a tree – it’s the world’s largest perennial herb. The banana fruit is, biologically speaking, a berry. Bananas are reportedly the world’s fourth most popular food, after rice, wheat, and corn. Most bananas grow in tropical regions. India grows the most bananas but Ecuador exports the most.
To learn more about bananas, we turned to Richard W. VanVranken, an agricultural agent and cooperative extension specialist with Rutgers University in New Jersey.
VanVranken tells us that bananas go to the U.S. green and hard as a rock in cargo containers. These containers have a controlled atmosphere to slow ripening. Once they arrive here, they go into ‘ripening rooms.’ There they are exposed to ethylene to restart the ripening process so that they are close to yellow by the time they arrive at the retailer. However, once the ripening is restarted, there is nothing in the rest of the distribution chain that will halt the process again.
Bananas at Home
According to VanVranken, you can ripen bananas faster by putting them in a bag with an apple. Alternatively, you can slow down the ripening by separating them and keeping them cool (and away from other fruit).
How can you get more days out of your bananas? You can extend the shelf life by buying greener fruit to begin with, he says. Or you can get a few more days out of them once they are ripe by putting them in the fridge. The skin will turn black, but the pulp will stay at the same stage of ripeness for a few days longer than if left on the counter.
Banana Waldorf Salad
OK – with that handy information in mind, we have this fun banana recipe for you. This Banana Waldorf Salad is like a fruit salad but heartier. You could enjoy it as a regular salad, of course, but it would make a great breakfast too. Just sayin’.
Banana Waldorf Salad
A tasty fruit salad that incorporates yogurt, walnuts, grapes, and apples.
- 2 crisp apples, cored and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup grapes, chopped in half
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 bananas
- 4 large crisp romaine lettuce leaves
- mint leaves for garnish
Combine apples, celery, walnuts, grapes, and raisins in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt and honey. Add yogurt mixture to apple mixture and stir gently to combine.
Meanwhile, peel four bananas and slice each banana in half crosswise and then lengthwise. Prepare four plates by placing a leaf of lettuce on each one. Add a dollop of salad to the middle of each plate. Place bananas around the edge of each plate, dividing evenly. Top each serving with a spring of mint leaves.
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P.S. If you’re looking for more fun things to do with bananas, we recommend these Blueberry Banana Gingersnap S’mores.
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