Banana Icecream 101

Banana icecream is a fickle creature; disobedient and with a fiery temper. Over the years I have made so many bowls, I cannot even begin to fathom the sheer volume of bananas my body must have digested! Conjuring up a bowl of frosty, fruity goodness can be a frustrating process to say the least, and whenever I post an image of my icecream I am guaranteed to be bombarded with an assortment of different questions -  'how do you get it so fluffy?', or more commonly, 'which blender do you have?'.

I figured that the easiest way to address this issue would be to write a master-post on the important, and ever elusive art of making the perfect bowl of banana icecream. Alas, here it is, banana icecream 101! On the right here we have a list of various ingredients you can experiment with to make your frozen treat, and down below are a few tips to ensure you get it right each and every time. But of course, we must start at the very beginning - how to make the perfect bowl of  plain banana icecream. One ingredient, one button - how difficult can it be?

HOW TO MAKE 1-INGREDIENT BANANA ICECREAM

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ripe bananas

EQUIPMENT

  • An airtight container
  • A freezer
  • A high-quality food processor
  • A spatula
  • A bowl
  • A spoon

METHOD

  1. Get your hands on some ripe bananas - ideally they should be slightly spotty, but not so much so that they're verging on being entirely brown. You want somewhere between starchy and fermented. You'll know it's perfect because the smell will be sweet, but not strong.
  2. Take your bananas, peel them, and slice them into coins, then pop them in an airtight container. Throw this into the freezer for a good 6-8 hours, or ideally, overnight. If you're pressed for time, you can line a plate with parchment paper and spread thin banana slices out in a single layer, checking every half hour until it one of the thicker slices is almost icy when you bite down on it.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, add your frozen banana chunks. Start by pulsing a few times to get the bananas going, then leave the processor running. These pesky bananas have the tendency to stick to the side of the bowl, so stop the processor, take your spatula, and scoop them away from the sides.
  4. Repeat this process until smooth. You will think it's done, but the trick is to wait an extra 20 seconds longer. This is the part where your smooth mixture will have the chance to be fluffed up with air - almost like it's being whipped by the blade.
  5. Scoop into a bowl, and enjoy your perfect banana icecream!
A simple yet delicious bowl of plain banana icecream topped with fresh passionfruit.

A simple yet delicious bowl of plain banana icecream topped with fresh passionfruit.

TOP TIPS FOR FLUFFY BANANA ICECREAM

1) use a high-quality food processor

Frozen fruits can be difficult on blenders and food processors, which is why it's vital to have one with a motor that has sufficient power. If you're thinking of buying one, save up a little longer and get one that will last longer and function better. I have attempted this recipe with a bar mix, and needless to say it did not end well.

2) At least half of your base blend should consist of frozen bananas

Not all fruits are made equal, and as a result, not all fruits will yield fluffy, creamy results. Fruits with a high water content (such as frozen berries) will make a fantastic sorbet, but it will be quick to melt and certainly not as creamy as a blend made with bananas. By using majority  bananas you can ensure an even, creamy texture that will be airy and will only melt into soft fluff, not a puddle.

3) Eat immediately, and only make as much as you need

Banana icecream is not like regular icecream. Because of its melty nature, you'll need to serve it immediately, and I wouldn't recommend trying to refreeze it. Like frozen bananas, it takes on an icy and unpleasant texture. Make it fresh and eat it then and there!

4) Never add ANY liquid, EVER

If your banana icecream isn't blending, you may be tempted to add a splash of plant milk or water to get things going. This is a bad idea because your finished product won't be a frozen as it could have been, which means it will melt faster and is less likely to have the fluffy texture that makes banana icecream oh-so-delicious! Try scraping the banana away from the sides of your processor with a spatula a few times, then use the next tip as a last resort.

5) If they're not budging, give them five

Frozen bananas are hard, it's no secret! Your food processor probably doesn't appreciate having to chew up a bunch of rock hard fruit, so if you want to be a little kinder to it simply let the ingredients defrost for a few minutes prior to blending. It may not be as creamy, and it will likely melt quicker, but you certainly won't break your food processor!

THE BASES

Frozen bananas
Frozen blueberries
Frozen mango
Frozen raspberries
Frozen kiwifruit
Frozen pineapple
Frozen peach
Frozen nectarine
Fresh avocado

THE FLAVOURINGS

Vanilla bean powder
Cacao powder
Matcha powder
Freeze-dried plum powder
Carob powder
Edible rose oil
Lemon zest
Peppermint oil

THE SUPERFOODS

Mesquite powder
Maca powder
Lucuma powder

THE SAUCES

Fresh passionfruit
Hardening chocolate sauce
Berry chia jam
Pure maple syrup

THE TOPPINGS

Cacao nibs
Crushed pistachios
Fresh raspberries
Fresh blueberries
Toasted buckwheat
Chocolate shavings
Chunks of raw treats
Chopped nuts
Coconut sugar
Nut butter