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Frozen banana "ice cream"??? Can this really work?

  • tcamp Jul 26, 2012 10:16 AM
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Author claims freezing banana slices, then putting them in the blender with additives (other fruit, chocolate, peanut butter, etc.) yields a tasty ice cream alternative. Wondering if any CH'ers have tried this. I don't need the fat or sugar found in typical ice creams so this is worth a try. But no bananas at home nor time to shop 'til the weekend.

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  1. I wouldn't call it 'ice cream' but a delicious frozen banana treat.

    I use frozen bananas, low fat milk, and a spoonful of malt powder for a very tasty 'milkshake'...

    1. I have done this and it works. There is a contraption that my friend has that she uses specifically for this purpose www.yonanas.com

      1. We have chcolate covered frozen bananas in lieu of ice cream

        Google for how-to. Its not difficult.

        1 Reply
        1. re: laliz

          Oh that reminds me, I recently made chocolate covered frozen kiwi pops...also a healthier alternative

        2. I literally just watched Rachael Ray make this on her show today. I have to say that it looked really good when it was all blended and whipped up.

          1. I was raised by health fanatics: no sugar, eggs, white flour, meat, oil, butter, milk, honey, (a.k.a nothing good) and this was what we got for a treat on special days like birthdays. (don't get me started on what we had for "cake"...)
            It's actually very tasty, though! Even melts in a kind of soft-servy way. We literally just froze sliced bananas and pureed them in the blender or food processor or something.
            Haven't eaten it in years because I grew up left the house and discovered just how good the real thing can be.
            It's no substitute for the real thing, but it's totally tasty.

            1. Thanks, all. I'm now sold. My son starts football training next week and I'll try this out on him.

              1. This works just fine. But remember: The bananas have to be soft when you freeze them -- ripe on the verge of going over-ripe. And you have to freeze them completely --overnight or so. And don't forget to peel the bananas before freezing.

                In short: This requires advance planning -- getting the bananas, waiting for them to go soft, and freezing. I do this for bananas that I have on hand that I fear will go bad -- peel, cut up, put in freezer bag, and pop in freezer for some time in the future when I want a treat.

                4 Replies
                1. re: alc

                  Why do they need to be over ripe ?

                  We make a banana sorbet but don't use over ripes. I use a Vitamix but frozen ripe or over ripe, should it make a difference?

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    Well, one important issue in ice cream and sorbet is the concentration of sugar. Too little, ice cream will be icy. Too much, it won't freeze solidly. I suppose and underripe banana will freeze icier.

                    1. re: sbp

                      They need to be really ripe for the sugar but not overripe for the texture and flavor. When really ripe, the starches have all converted to sugar, they have a strong banana flavor, and the texture of the "ice cream" will be creamy. When they're overripe (and this is how I prefer them for smoothies) they're very sweet but the texture isn't creamy enough and the banana flavor isn't very pronounced. Heavily spotted but not too soft should be fine. Also, running the bananas (whole) through a Champion juicer rather than a blender (even a Vitamix) yields true soft-serve. Search "banana ice cream" and/or "Champion juicer banana" on YouTube to see it demonstrated.

                    2. re: scubadoo97

                      I don't think they have to be "over ripe," but I don't know if it work in my food processor if they were frozen while hard. I think the texture and flavor would be different. But I can't say I've experimented much. Perhaps you have much more leeway using a Vitamix.

                  2. Any idea if this would work with whole frozen bananas instead of slices? I have quite a few of those in my freezer! Generally I make banana bread with them, but I've got a bit of a backlog right now.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bjd001

                      It works great as long as your blender is powerful enough to break down the whole frozen bananas. I have a Vitamix and it's never been a problem.

                      1. re: bjd001

                        yes, fine. We freeze them whole (peeled) and make this all the time. A little cinnamon is all we add, htough we have been known to throw in a few chocolate chips ;)

                        1. re: bjd001

                          You can still slice through a frozen banana. I did this. The only down side I found freezing them whole was I had to use a paring knife to peel them and the cold got to be a little much on my hand.

                          If I'm not mistaken, I have also tried a version using yogurt, lime juice and honey.

                        2. I do it with strawberries, a little milk and simple syrup in the vitamix. The trick is that due to the tamper you only add enough milk so as not to dilute the flavor of the fruit and to come out with a frozen product. Not a milk shake.

                          1. I like the frozen banana treats.

                            Another idea that is low fat and low sugar: Soften frozen yogurt or good vanilla ice cream. Add in canned pumpkin and a little cinnamon. Re-freeze.

                            A pumpkin-y ice cream like thing. I've been known to use equal parts pumpkin and ice cream. Then it's only half the fat and calories of the frozen stuff you're using.

                            (Sorry for going off topic. I couldn't resist.)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: karykat

                              I love pumpkin ice cream, for years it was a Halloween staple at our house. My daughter just made some sweet potato ice cream this week. But it is certainly not low calorie as it's made with heavy cream.

                            2. I can't eat ice cream without going to excess, so I enjoy slices of frozen ripe banana--an unprocessed popsicle. I just slice the banana into chips or chunks or pieces the size of carrot sticks, and spread them out flat, on a plate covered by a plastic bag or in a plastic container--making sure to separate the pieces. I want to buy those popsicle-molds or sleeves. We just always have bananas around--ready for eating or freezing!

                              1. Not Ice Cream "Ice Cream Substitute"

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: chefj

                                  I think that was the point of putting "ice cream" in quotes.

                                2. I've been doing this for decades -- not only frozen bananas on a stick for a summer treat, but frozen bananas to add to smoothies -- they make for a wonderfully creamy smoothie, and it doesn't go watery as it melts. (frozen strawberries work, too, although they're not as creamy)

                                  No need to use overripe bananas -- just ripe.

                                  (My old Hamilton Beach blender never flinched -- neither does the Oster that replaced it. -- the HB lived a long and productive live, but the o-ring gave out and I couldn't find replacements)