Banana Ice-cream (The Simplest Ever)

Banana ice-cream

I first came across this idea when I did a raw food course with Earthshine several years ago, and then was recently reminded of it by my friend Dawn (thanks, Dawn!). At the time, I just couldn’t believe that ice-cream could taste so good when it was made with just one ingredient. That’s right – just one ingredient! What is that ingredient? Frozen banana!

Frozen banana is a staple in my freezer anyway since I regularly throw it into smoothies and lately, now that summer is fully here, use it to make healthy ice-cream at the drop of a hat. The trick is to use nicely ripe bananas, and to peel them and then break them up into chunks before freezing them in a freezer bag. Warning: do not attempt to peel or break a banana into chunks once it’s frozen!

Then, when you’re feeling a yen for something cold and luscious, you simply break off however much you want from the frozen chunks and blend until you have a creamy consistency, very similar to regular soft-serve ice-cream.

Note: You do need a blender. I once tried making it with an electric beater and quickly realised it’s not a good idea – unless you actually want banana chunks strewn across your kitchen counter, of course.

This ice-cream is absolutely delicious just plain banana-flavoured. If you want to play with the basic flavour though, you can also add any number of ingredients. If you add liquid, bear in mind that it’ll get more runny. Your choice is then to just eat/drink it immediately anyway or to put it back in the freezer to harden up a bit.

I added cinnamon and coconut milk in this batch, and put it back in the freezer for an hour or so, breaking it up with a fork a couple of times in the process. After that I couldn’t wait any longer so I went ahead and ate some – you’ll see in the picture it’s still a bit soft. I left the other half in the freezer though and it was solid the next day (sadly I forgot to take pictures of that) so I left it out for 5 minutes to soften slightly before serving.

When it’s frozen, the banana taste isn’t so strong, so if you add other strongly-flavoured ingredients, like cocoa or coffee, you end up just tasting those, rather than banana, which is fine if that’s what you want. Ingredients I’ve tried adding are coffee, cream, blueberries, crystallised ginger, nuts and cocoa and they’ve all been delicious. So feel free to experiment with whatever flavours take your fancy, or a combination of them.

In fact I recently read about a company in Honolulu where the staple menu item is banana ice-cream. Apparently they even have a basil-flavoured version – now that’s something I want to try!

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Ingredients

  • Ripe bananas, frozen

Optional added flavours (just a few of the MANY possibilities!):

  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut milk
  • Cream
  • Strong brewed coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Mint
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Nuts – raw or toasted
  • Chocolate chips
  • Grated or crystallised ginger

Method

To prepare your bananas, peel them and break them up into chunks. Freeze them in a freezer bag until you need them.

When you’re ready to make your ice-cream, place as much of the frozen banana as you want in a bowl or stand-alone blender.

Frozen banana chunks

Then blend until it’s fluffy, with a similar texture to regular soft-serve ice-cream.

Starting to blend

Fluffy banana ice-cream

If you’re adding other flavours, add them now and blend them in.

Adding cinnamon and coconut milk

Blended ice-cream - a bit runny

Serve immediately or put in the freezer to serve later.

Prepare to put in the freezer

If you freeze it, beat it with a fork every half-hour or so, for the first couple of hours, to break up the ice crystals and keep the texture light, before putting it back in the freezer.

Beat with a fork to break up ice crystals

Beaten ice-cream

If you leave it till it’s solid, you may want to take it out 5 – 10 mins before serving to soften slightly.

Serve with whatever garnishes you choose – chocolate sprinkles, mint, nuts, etc.

 

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© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2015

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