Go Bananas! National Banana Bread Day

National Banana Bread Day is February 23. As we celebrate (and by “celebrate” we mean “eat a bunch of”) this yummy, cake-like quick bread, it seemed like a great time to take a look at this simple treat and its signature ingredient, the banana.

Cavendish_DS-bananabunchBananas in the USA (Fun Banana Bread Facts):

North Americans began consuming bananas on a small scale (and at very high prices) in the 1870s, shortly after the Civil War.

Jules Verne introduces his readers to bananas with detailed descriptions in Around the World in Eighty Days (1872).

The subsequent development of modern transportation networks of steamships and railroads, combined with the development of refrigeration, beginning in the 1880s, allowed bananas to become more widely available.

It took a while longer for bananas to start to appear in dessert recipes, though.
(more after the break)

Banana bread became a standard feature of American cookbooks in the 1930s, with the popularization of baking soda and baking powder, which are the leavening agent in most banana bread recipes.

chiquita-banana-recipebookThe recipe appeared in a 1933 Pillsbury cookbook, and the easy quick bread recipe later gained more acceptance with the release of the original “Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book” in 1950.

Some food historians believe banana bread was a byproduct of the Great Depression as resourceful housewives did not want to waste overripe (but costly) bananas . Other historians believe the modern banana bread was developed in corporate kitchens to promote flour and baking soda products.

For more “fun facts” about bananas (they’re radioactive! they’re fluorescent!), check out this post.  And see our banana stories and recipes of all sorts here.

See all our Banana Bread recipes under this tag.

Bananas -SteveHopson

Photo credits: Small bunch of bananas by Augustus Binu, CC BY-SA 4.0
Shelf full of bananas by Steve Hopson
Chiquita Banana Cookbook via Smithsonian Magazine