The seed catalogs are starting to arrive in my mailbox and the Seattle Flower & Garden Show just ended…this definitely means that I need to start planning my vegetable garden. I know many people probably have their plant starts going. My husband and I have a small backyard vegetable garden. We tend to grow enough to feed us through the summer and I freeze or preserve the extra produce.
This time of year also means that I need to take stock of what I have left in my freezer to use up. I have quite a bit of pumpkin left even though I enjoy making soups, pies and breads from the bounty. I developed a healthy recipe that uses pumpkin as well as bananas (instead of oil). Pumpkin is rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins. This humble backyard vegetable is low in calories and it is packed with vitamins A, C and E as well as well as flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, xanthin and carotenes in abundance. Bananas are also nutrient-rich and provide a good source of fiber and potassium.
You can “dress” up this recipe by adding toasted walnuts or pecans and make it a dessert cake by adding chocolate chips. I baked it in a standard loaf pan, but it works just as well as muffins (simply reduce the baking time.) It is a healthy alternative to give your family for an after-school snack.
Pumpkin Banana Bread
1/2 cup soft butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup mashed bananas (the riper the better)
2 tablespoons orange juice (or cranberry or apple juice or plain water)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans or 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, pumpkin, banana, juice or water and vanilla. Mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Do not overmix or the bread will be “tough.”
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a standard loaf pan. Spoon the batter in the prepared pan. Allow the bread to rest for about 15 minutes, uncovered.
Bake the bread for 55 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. (If you are making muffins, reduce the time by half.)
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at [email protected].