Bermuda bananas, as they are fondly known to locals, have become an essential part of the Bermudian diet and culture, thanks to their sweet flavour and versatility in cooking. Technically called Dwarf Cavendish bananas, the fruit was originally introduced to the island at the time of the first settlement, in 1616. Over the last 400 years, they have continuously been used in numerous favourite Bermudian dishes, from the classic codfish and banana breakfast to bananas flambéed in Goslings rum.
Bananas thrive in Bermuda’s climate and several varieties are cultivated here, including fig, plantain, red and strawberry bananas, in addition to the Bermuda banana. They are grown not from seed but from “sword suckers,” which are planted about six feet apart in deep soil, and a new plant will yield fruit at about 12 to 18 months from the time of planting.
Nutritionally, bananas are an excellent choice for various reasons. They contain iron, vitamin B6, fibre and three types of natural sugar—sucrose, fructose and glucose—making them a great source of natural energy. Additionally, the high potassium and low sodium levels of bananas mean they are ideal for controlling high blood pressure.
When it comes to using Bermuda bananas, the options are endless. Serve them with codfish and potatoes for breakfast, mix them into a fruit salad, bake them into any number of muffins, quick breads, cakes and desserts, or eat them just as they are.
Easy Banana Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 medium to large very ripe bananas, finely mashed
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 F and prepare a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar and stir until well combined. Mix in the beaten eggs and vanilla and stir until combined.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Combine the wet and dry mixtures until they are just incorporated. Do not overmix. If desired, add nuts and stir to combine.
Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. Place them in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350 F. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean and the tops are turning golden brown.
Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool for five minutes before serving.
To store the remaining muffins, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar, plus more as needed
In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed for two to three minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Stir in the vanilla, then the powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar as needed until the frosting is a thick, spreadable consistency. Spread or pipe the frosting on to the cooled cupcakes.