BANANAS weren’t known in the United States until Captain Lorenzo Baker introduced them in 1870. They were expensive and only available to those living near port cities on the east coast.
It took many years for them to become available and affordable to the average household.
FROM EARLY 1900s COOKBOOKS:
Do not try to hurry the ripening process as bananas are better when ripened slowly. Keep them in the dark, in a not too cold place and give them plenty of time. Large, plump bananas are far superior to small slender ones in wholesomeness and flavor, besides being cheaper.
Almond cream is very harmonious with bananas. Peeled bananas with a little almond butter accompanying each mouthful make a complete and delightful luncheon. Brazil nut butter and cream are also excellent with bananas.
Slice bananas, stew with a little sugar water and a trifle of ground or crushed anise seed tied in a piece of cheese cloth.
BANANAS IN BUTTER
Simmer bananas in butter in a covered aluminum or agate frying pan on the top of the stove where it is not too hot. They will not be browned but simply stewed.
The simplest way to bake bananas is in the skins. It takes just twenty minutes in a moderate oven.* To eat, strip a piece of skin about an inch wide from the top side and partake of the baked fruit from the remaining skin in teaspoonfuls.
BAKED CRUMBED BANANAS
Roll peeled bananas in fine granola [sic], cracker or zwieback crumbs mixed with sugar. Bake in moderate oven* till just tender. Serve at once.
*moderate oven – about 350 degrees fahrenheit
BANANAS BAKED WITH TOMATOES
Put a thin layer of stewed or sliced tomatoes in the bottom of a baking pan. Cover with bananas sliced crosswise and bake. [no time or temperature given].
BANANAS WITH FIGS AND NUTS
Peel, scrape, and slice four bananas. Wash, dry, and chop four figs and spread over bananas. Sprinkle with two tablespoons powdered sugar and one-fourth cup chopped nut meats. Serve with cream.
A very good fruit-and-nut combination for a salad consists of bananas and ground peanuts. The bananas, after being cut in half lengthwise, are rolled in the peanuts, placed on a lettuce leaf, and served with dressing. If it is desired to improve the flavor, the bananas may be dipped into the salad dressing before being rolled in the peanuts.
ORANGE AND BANANA SALAD
Stir the juice of two oranges, half a cup of sherry wine, one tablespoonful of lemon juice, half a cup of sugar, and the unbeaten white of an egg over the fire until the boiling point is reached. Let simmer slowly ten minutes and strain through a cheese-cloth. When thoroughly chilled, pour over three bananas and three oranges, sliced and mixed together in a salad-bowl. Sprinkle with half a cup of desiccated [dried] cocoanut [sic]. Serve thoroughly chilled.
Put in a saucepan one quart milk, one-half tablespoonful cornstarch, one-half cup sugar and the yolks of four eggs. Set the saucepan in a vessel of boiling water and stir over the fire till nearly boiling. Remove instantly, pour the custard into a dish and add one teaspoonful lemon extract. When cold, have one-half dozen bananas cut into slices and stir them into the custard. Beat the whites of four eggs to a stiff froth, mix with a little powdered sugar, cover the custard with the meringue, set lady fingers* around the edge of dish and serve.
*lady fingers – small thin sweet sponge cakes, shaped similar to a finger
Peel and wash bananas. Use equal parts of bananas and sweet cream. To one quart of the mixture allow one-fourth pound of sugar. Beat all together till the cream is light. Some consider it an improvement to add a few drops of vanilla, or the juice of canned pineapple.
ORANGE AND BANANA COMPOTE
For six bananas, a little underripe, make a syrup of one cup sugar and a half cup water. Flavor with six whole cloves and one inch stick cinnamon. Boil eight minutes without stirring. Add the bananas and simmer until they begin to clear. Put in the juice of two oranges, a half lemon, and a half glass of grape juice. Remove the cloves and cinnamon and serve on rounds of toast or sponge cake with whipped cream.