Banana Tea Bread

banana bread
banana bread

Before I really started studying holistic health and nutrition, I had my own baking business in Brooklyn and I ate quite a bit of my baked goods. Everything I made was made from the best organic ingredients, but my cookies, brownies, cakes, scones, muffins and biscotti were still full of sugar and white flour. Since I’ve learned so much about the health hazards of those two prominent baking ingredients I’ve been experimenting with alternatives. Banana bread is a staple I’ve made for years and substitutions work well in this recipe.

In the bread pictured above, I added some strawberries as well. I only had two bananas in the freezer and this recipe is much better with four, so I substituted some fresh strawberries for the missing bananas and mashed them into the bananas. You could do this with any fruit, just aim for about one and a half cups of mashed fruit. I used spelt flour and it came out really delicious. The only sweetener needed is honey — along with the fruit it is perfectly sweet.

Banana Tea Bread

1 3/4 cup sifted spelt flour          1/3 cup honey

2 tsp. baking powder                  2 eggs, well beaten

1/4 tsp. baking soda                   1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4)

1/4 tsp. salt                                   4 tbl butter, softened

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cream the butter, add the honey gradually and continue working, blending well. Add the beaten eggs and beat well. Add the flour mixture alternatively with the bananas (or banana/fruit combo), a small amount at a time, stirring in each addition until smooth. Do not over mix.

Turn into a well-greased or parchment-lined loaf pan (8 1/2” x 4 1/2” x 3”) and bake about for about 1 hour at 350 degrees. The loaf is done when the cake tester or toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Let cool for a few minutes before turning out of pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 1 loaf

A Bit about Bananas

 I love bananas but have been trying to buy less of them since they are so environmentally un-friendly — from the way they are grown to how much fossil fuel it takes to ship them here. And I’m talking about organic bananas. Conventionally grown bananas are an environmental nightmare. They’re one of the most heavily chemically treated crops, destroying tropical rain forests in Central and South America, and poisoning the workers and families who live near the banana plantations. I’m not sure if it’s better to stop buying bananas altogether or to support the farmers who are growing them organically and paying their workers a fair wage. I can see arguments for both sides and I'd love to hear feedback on this.