A few months ago, I fell in love. We’re talking troppo. One taste, and I was a gone. The object of my affection?
Green banana flour.
Green banana flour isn’t new. It’s been eaten in Africa and Jamaica for centuries. But it’s relatively new to America and even newer in Australia, and my pantry.
This food is what it says it is: green bananas that have been cut, ground and turned into flour.
As a grain free mama, I fell in love with the food instantly, because it’s a great baking flour that can replace wheat in many recipes.
Let me say that again: it’s a grain free flour that can replace wheat in baking.
I was and am new in my grain free journey, and replacing wheat when you’ve been used to relying on it is hard.
This flour is gold.
I first bought green banana flour from the folk at Natural Evolution. These guys, Rob and Krista Watkins, pioneered green banana flour in Australia. I’ve never met them, but I think they’re awesome. According to their website, Rob—an award-winning farmer, was concerned about the huge quantities of bananas going to waste because they didn’t fit supermarket specs for size and aesthetics. You can read here about how the couple came to make green banana flour, and how quickly it sold out. Probably because of people like me going nuts, err, bananas buying it.
Enough with the puns. Here’s why I love this amazing food, and why you might love it too:
When you go wheat free, nothing tastes quite the same. Let’s get that out of way first. Our taste buds are conditioned for wheat—it’s in more of what we eat than we realise, and alternative flours take some getting used to. Some more than others.
Green banana flour fits into the others category.
That’s why I’m troppo for this one. It doesn’t taste like wheat, but it doesn’t taste like bananas either. That would be weird in baking, right? The flour has a mild taste that makes things like biscuits taste familiar, and goes nicely in pancakes and cupcakes.
Starting out on a grain free journey, especially when you have children along for the ride, it’s a relief to find food that tastes good and a little bit familiar. Green banana flour is that flour.
Why green? Why not just banana flour?
Unripe bananas have lower sugar content. Green banana flour is made from green fruit that hasn’t developed its full sugar content yet. This is great news for health.
Bananas are good for you though, green or not. They’re high in fibre; minerals like potassium, zinc and magnesium; vitamins and importantly, resistant starch.
A few other nutritional benefits I’ve noted in my research include:
- Green banana flour helps you absorb nutrients.
- The resistant starch is beneficial for gut flora.
- It’s lower in calories than other flours.
- It potentially helps with weight loss.
- It’s good for your heart.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m not a nutritionist. I’m someone who loves organic, nutritionally dense, real foods. If you want more details about the nutritional benefits of green banana flour, go here.
Green banana flour piqued my interest because I’d watched a documentary about wastage of bananas that didn’t fit supermarket size and style requirements. I remain appalled. Many people in the world are starving. Our planet is struggling under the weight of our farming and over-consumption. And we’re throwing good food away.
Banana growers who make this flour don’t have to throw fruit away. They can turn the stuff that doesn’t meet the ridiculous aesthetic requirements of supermarkets, into flour.
How awesome is it to find a food that is real, grain free, nutritious and sustainable? I’m a selfish creature and this flour found its way to my heart through my stomach. But I’m also trying to live more consciously and mindfully of my impact on the planet. I’m happy to buy green banana flour from ethical growers who are combatting food waste. And I’m really happy to eat it!
Green banana flour is also easy to work with, and I say this as someone who is challenged when it comes to cooking. This one is simple. As the Natural Evolution website explains, 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 1 cup of green banana flour makes it self-raising. For recipes that require plain flour, use it straight.
I like to go half green banana flour, half blanched almond or another grain free flour, in most recipes. I find this gives the best taste and result. But you can use green banana flour on its own. I’ve done that too. And, yum.
Affordability (& Where to Buy).
First, I can only vouch for where I live, in Australia, when I’m talking about the cost of green banana flour.
If you’re not a raving hippie like I seem to have become, this flour won’t require you to re-mortgage your house. If you are a lefty off-grid person like me who chooses a lower-cost way of life, then the affordability of green banana flour is good news for you too.
It isn’t crazily expensive. If you happen to live in Australia, you can buy a packet of this stuff for really not much at Woolworths, in their macro organics brand. I have to tell you, I NEVER thought I would endorse a supermarket product on any blog of mine. As I write this, the green banana flour that you will buy at Woolworths is from Natural Evolution Foods. How cool is that? A visionary farmer who pioneered a product in Australia to combat supermarket wastage of food, is now supplying a supermarket.
People, revolution is near. There’s hope for Earth yet.
I do prefer to buy in larger quantities, straight from the grower, but it’s great the organic flour is available close by, at the supermarket.
If you’re in the US, try these guys. Obviously I’ve never bought from them but they produce their own organic green banana powder, and are based in Seattle. Alternatively, you could try NuBana green banana flour. Again, I can’t personally recommend this one because I’ve never tried it.
A Little More About Green Banana Flour & A Recipe.
Green banana flour is high in carbohydrates. For those of us who don’t eat huge amounts of carbs, that’s a consideration.
The good news is that the carbs are slow release, keeping you feeling fuller longer, and helping to control blood sugar levels.
I balance autoimmune disease considerations with the fact that I have growing children who need healthy amounts of carbs in their diet. I eat mindful amounts of green banana flour, even though I’m in love with it.
AND A RECIPE:
If you’ve read my earlier recipe posts, you’ll know I’m not full of cooking artistry. I’m brave enough to share photographs of my actual baking, because I know how it is to feel inadequate when you’re trying to achieve lots in the kitchen, without being a pro, or even close, and my aim is to help other non-pro mama and papa chefs have confidence that their cooking is every bit good enough. It’s hard not to compare yourself to those amazing grain free mama chefs, who make beautiful looking dishes.
My cooking doesn’t look beautiful. I accept that, and focus on nutrition and taste-worthy tests.
Here’s my recipe. You’ll find a picture of my imperfectly baked biscuits below. They’re not pro, but they are organic, nutritious, delicious, and happily devoured by my husband and kids.
Green Banana Flour Biscuits
1 3/4 cups green banana flour
1 1/2 cups organic shredded coconut
2 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 cup coconut sugar
250 grams butter or coconut oil
2 teaspoons organic, gluten free baking soda
2 teaspoons boiling water
2 eggs (optional: you can add a little more water instead and omit the eggs if you wish)
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC
- Mix dry ingredients
- Combine baking soda and boiling water
- Melt butter or coconut oil over low heat
- Add honey, then the baking soda mixture, to the butter or oil
- Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, and combine
- Roll the mixture into balls and place them on a buttered or lined baking tray
- Press the biscuits down lightly
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes
- Remove from oven and set to cool
If you want my chocolate bliss ball recipe, go here.
You can read about the benefits of green banana flour here.
For a yummy chocolate chip cookie recipe that’s vegan, go here.
The cover image in this post is from DerSpeaker's collection on pixabay.