by Karin Calloway
Produce that’s past its prime usually gets tossed in the trash. But when it comes to bananas that have begun to soften and brown, think twice before tossing them out. My mother’s Banana Date-Nut Bread makes wonderful use of past-their-prime bananas. While the addition of chopped nuts is typical in many sweet bread recipes, Mom’s addition of chopped dates gives her bread a special texture and flavor.
When there isn’t a brown banana in sight, shredded zucchini can be substituted, making this bread a great end-of-summer treat that uses that extra zucchini from your garden. The recipe makes two loaves, so serve one with a soup and a salad supper, and take the other to a neighbor or friend. The breads also freeze beautifully, and can be frozen, wrapped in foil and placed in zip-top freezer bags, for a month or two.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 medium overripe bananas (about 2 cups mashed) or 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped dates
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream sugar, vegetable oil and eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add banana and vanilla and mix well.
Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients to banana mixture, stirring until combined. Fold in dates and nuts and pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until pick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean. Cool in loaf pans on a rack for 10 minutes, invert onto a rack, remove from pans and cool completely.
Makes 2 loaves.