Thursday, September 30, 2010

DIY Banana Ice Cream

This is the level of stiffness i prefer.  More like ice cream.
So i tried out this recipe recently for DIY banana ice cream. Guess what the ingredients are? that's right! BANANA's! and nothing else! Seriously. It's a pretty sweet dessert you can whip up and enjoy guilt-free. However, the recipe page said they used a food processessor, which i don't have. Thus begun my quest to see if it could be made with something less than a food processor.

First I tried with what i had, a blender. All you have to do is peel and chop to chunks and then freeze (use freezer-proof bags for long term). I usually have a stash of frozen bananas prepared like this for smoothies. Took some out, dumped it in a blender, and it works! Sort of. You have to pulse and stop alot because the frozen banana pieces need to be pushed down into the blade area. At first, it won't look like it's working but once the banana thaw to a magical point it will start looking like custard ice cream/soft-serve. The trick is to not over-blend, you start loosing the stiffness of the banana cream. To make the texture more stiffer like ice-cream than soft-serve, put it in the freezer for a couple hours. If you let it sit in the freezer too long (~day?) it become too hard.
Peanut-butter enhanced!  Slightly over-blended.
So yeah, a blender works for small amounts, but i tried making a large batch and it was a pain, had to constantly stop and push the bananas down. And took forever because only a small amount of the banana is in contact with the blades. Also, it was harder to control the level of blending with that much mass.

So I tried the next step up, a hand blender! These are normally used for making strawberry daquiries or baby food. only $20, so i gave it a shot. I figured i could push down with the hand blender into the mass of the bananas. Unforetunately, this didn't work too well because the blending blade is very very small and fast. I could push down but not alot of the banana mass would get hit and those that did tended to get over-blended too quickly. or it would just get stuck in the blade housing.

Hand blender returned, i got myself a hand blender with food chopper attachment for $25! It's kinda like a food processor right? Bah, this had the same problem as the blender. Even though the blade area was bigger, there is no way to push the the banana down into the blades.
Also called Immersion blenders. Chopper attachment on the right.
That got returned, so the next logical step is the full on food processor ($30) but at this point i got tired of the experiment and i haven't gotten one yet. I suspect it's the best utility for large batches because they usually have a pusher plunger thing in the lid that helps you push food into the blades. Conclusion? A blender works for 2, maybe 3 servings. Any more and you might as well get a food processor.

Here are some tips:
Rock hard is hard to scoop
  • Use RIPE bananas, like really ripe ones. Even a hint of rawness is detectable in the resulting ice cream. This is because cold stuff deadens the tastebuds, so to compensate you have to have more sweetness than normal. If you've ever tried melted, room-temperature ice cream, you'll find it's super-sweet because the manufactures know they have to compensate for the cold.
  • Don't use non-frozen bananas. I tried it. Fresh comes out completely liquid (amazing it's so liquid!). And then freezing it turns it into rock-hard.
  • Additives can help the flavor and give variety. I've tried honey, peanutbutter, and strawberries (not all together) and they're pretty good! The trick is to remember most of the composition has to be the base material, that is bananas. Throw in like ONE non-frozen strawberry for 2-3 servings of banana ice cream. Other ideas i have yet to try: chocolate syrup, reeses peanut butter cups, maple syrup, or Nutella! mmmMMMmm!

 So yeah, i hope this has inspired you to try it yourself! It's just like ice cream but healthy! awesome.

Another satisfied customer!


Drew B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendy said...

you can try it with my ice cream maker next time you are here, but prob have to add some ingredients to it other than just bananas...

violachica286 said...

i just saw a recipe for banana-only ice cream the other day!! too bad i hate bananas :P

Linda said...

Wow, bananas is the only ingredient?! I used to freeze bananas and just eat them... but the texture was never "quite right." I need to try this sometime... I do have a food processor that has been collecting dust. Time to put it to some good use and make banana ice cream!! :)