Everyone seems to have a specific (and narrow) opinion about the “right” ripeness of a banana. Mine need to be heavily tinged with green. I have no taste for a yellow banana. By the time all the green is gone, they are far too sweet for me, and the flavor changes to something I don’t enjoy at all.
Sadly, the green ones seem to cross that line much too quickly. My husband still enjoys them for a day or so longer, but more often than not we’re left with….. dead bananas.
Growing up, bananas past their prime meant banana bread. Out of boredom, I’ve had to branch out: banana cake, banana split cake, banana cream pie. They’re all pretty good, but this time around I faced a new challenge. The bananas ripened while we were in the middle of a month-long diet that eliminates grains, sugar, dairy, and whole bunch of other things. What to do with the bananas?
I like to bake and gift goodies, so that was one option I considered. Baking and freezing works, except that we’re really planning on carrying forward a diet greatly reduced in sweets and easy carbs so banana bread for later didn’t seem to be the best idea. I’ve tried freezing bananas to use later, but I didn’t like that result. They got gooey and not at all appealing.
With a busy day going on, I happened to glance over and see the bin I have in the kitchen for vegetable scraps. We share the scraps with the wild critters, and that gave me a new idea. I thought the deer might enjoy some bananas. I cut them in inch-long chunks and mixed them in with the other peelings and trimmings from cooking, and off they went over the back fence where the deer like to graze.
On a normal day, the deer would be pulled in immediately by their keen noses and their insatiable appetites. They often arrive to inspect my offerings before I even get back inside the house. Not so this time. There wasn’t a deer at the pile, nor any approaching from the edges of our woods. I figured I’d just wait a bit – surely they’d come.
Not long after, I noticed a flurry among the bananas. An entire cadre of squirrels had shown up, and they were having a party! There must have been 8 or 10 of them, various kinds and colors. The bananas were a big hit.
Still later, when that frenzy had died down, the fuzzy four-legged who lives here was barking to go out. He doesn’t get yard privileges when the wild things are enjoying their meals. Even though there’s a fence and he can’t really do anything to them, far be it from me to cause annoyance and indigestion among the woodland creatures.
A quick look said the coast was clear, so I let the dog out — where he promptly ran to the fence and went berserk like I’ve never seen him do. He was barking. He was lunging at the fence. He was even hopping up and down. What the heck??
I had to stare into the snow and past the usual forest debris, and finally I saw it. A big, fat possum had found the scraps that the squirrels missed. We’ve lived in this house for sixteen years, and I’ve never seen a possum here. Much less, in the middle of the day. I’m pretty sure the dog had never seen one, either.
So, I called him back inside, and bless his heart, he came even though I’m sure he thought the possum was a lot more interesting than I am. Once inside, I gave him treats and a good pet-down and we had a little talk about how possums like to eat those nasty ticks that get on him. It could be wishful thinking, but he seemed to understand. I’d take a whole family of possums in our woods if it would get rid of the ticks.
In the meanwhile I still wonder if deer like bananas.
(c) 2018, J. L. Cools