Good news, fellow cannabis enthusiasts! 420 Day — our famous, favorite and fabulous celebration of all things cannabis — just so happens to coincide with the same week as National Banana Day on April 18, making it a perfect time to pay tribute to this yummy fruit as well as all the at-home canna-bakers who love concocting their own edibles.
So, let’s take a look at the beautiful, humble and healthy banana by exploring its history and sharing a much-loved family recipe for cannabis-infused banana bread, so you too can properly celebrate 420 in style.
A Brief History Of Bananas For National Banana Day
Bananas were first cultivated in Southeast Asia as long ago as 8000 BCE. Alexander the Great discovered bananas in India in 327 BCE, and brought them back to Europe. It’s believed that European cultivation began with Roman Emperor Octavius Augustus, from 63 to 14 BCE, under the tutelage of his personal physician Antonius Musa.
Bananas were thought to have been brought to West Africa by Portuguese sailors during the first part of the 15th century, who also exchanged this exotic fruit with Arab traders along the way. Then, it was during the 1500s that Spanish missionary and priest Tomás de Berlanga brought bananas over to the Americas.
Today, bananas are grown in tropical climates such as Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific Islands. Only about 20 percent of all bananas are grown for export as they are a staple food source in many emergent nations.
Historically, with over 1,000 different varietals, bananas were not similar to the sweet flavor profile of those we know today. Rather, they were either green or red and referred to as plantains (which are delicious fried, by the way).
The common sweet strain of banana we know today, the Cavendish, was shipped around the world in the 1800s before entering mass production in 1903 because of its resistance to the Panama disease that ultimately decimated other banana strains.
Why Bananas Are Great With Cannabis
Bananas are healthy, in addition to being incredibly handy as a snack on the go. According to the US Department of Agriculture breakdown of nutritional information, bananas are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, especially folate and potassium, and when the munchies hit, are a healthy alternative to store-bought, processed junk food. They are also a good mood elevator due to tryptophan, a type of protein that the human body converts into serotonin. Eating healthfully and feeling better while medicating with cannabis? Sounds like the perfect combination.
Baking is an activity I learned early from Grandma, who learned from her grandma, and so on. At least once a week, we would spend time in the kitchen together, baking delicious treats, including banana bread. Grandma taught me to be frugal by utilizing the fully ripened, less-expensive bananas and any other affordable surprise additions such as nuts, cinnamon and orange juice, all of which added different yet delicious flavor profiles to the recipe.
This particular version is a basic fruit bread recipe and any seed or nut can be utilized, as well as a variety of spices including nutmeg, cinnamon or allspice. My grandmother learned this recipe while growing up on an Idaho farm during the Great Depression, and consequently had to concoct recipes using whatever austere means were at hand. This banana bread is easy to make (and teach to kids), utilizes basic ingredients, makes plenty of servings, and stays fresh and tasty when stored well in an airtight container for several days.
I have also made my own variation of this recipe by adding chia, flax and hemp seeds for extra protein, plus cannabis-infused butter.
Before I begin any recipe for homemade, cannabis-infused edibles, I first assess what type of outcome I desire. Do I want to make a dish that will give me a boost of energy and creativity, or an edible that will provide calming relaxation? For example, I can choose a sativa such as Sour Diesel for its euphoric and uplifting effects, or a Jack Herer to encourage that creativity, or go with a strong indica, such as Granddaddy Purple or Northern Lights, for their powerful relaxation and pain management effects. Once the strain has been determined and obtained, the baking can begin.
Cannabis-Infused Banana Bread Recipe
Ingredients You Will Need
- 1/2 cup room-temperature cannabis-infused butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 room-temperature eggs
- 3 fully ripened bananas (you can add up to 3 extra bananas, but this will require additional baking time)
- 1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Optional: You can also add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, hemp seeds, nutmeg or allspice, in addition to a cup of chocolate chips or any variety of nuts, or a couple teaspoons of vanilla orange juice. Feel free to experiment.
- 9×9 metal or glass baking dish
- Two mixing bowls
- Spatula for mixing
- First, before gathering all your ingredients, preheat oven to 300°F, or 150°C.
- Although not necessary, I prefer to roast the bananas prior to incorporating them into the batter. This method allows for a more well-rounded flavor and also increases the antioxidants released from the banana, which may prevent or delay human cell damage.
- Place unpeeled fruit on foil-covered sheet pan and roasting at 300°F for 15–30 minutes.
- Remove from oven once the skins are completely blackened.
- Allow to cool before handling, then cut stem end off, open the peel, and mash.
- Mix together 1/2 cup of cannabutter and 1 cup granulated sugar with two eggs until smooth and creamy.
- Add mashed bananas and fully incorporate into the batter.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir gently to combine.
- Slowly add (in small batches) dry mixture to wet, gently mixing to thoroughly consolidate all ingredients.
- Spray 9×9 metal or glass baking dish with oil (or use thin layer of cannabutter for an extra boost of potency and flavor) and pour in batter, tapping lightly and shaking to help dissipate any air bubbles.
- Place dish in oven and bake at 350°F for 45–60 minutes. Times will vary, depending on how many bananas and extra add-ins are used. Check with a toothpick after 45 minutes. If it comes out clean and the bread has started to brown on top and pull away from the edges, your banana bread is done. If there is still batter on the toothpick or the bread doesn’t spring back from a light touch, place it back in the oven and check every few minutes until fully baked.
Once baked through, remove and place on cooling rack for at least one hour. After banana bread has cooled to touch, run a butter knife around the edges to loosen, turn upside down, dislodge gently from the baking dish and turn back upright, placing bread back on the rack for another 2–3 hours before sealing in a plastic bag. Will stay fresh for several days.
As always, enjoy cannabis-infused products responsibly, carefully marking any edibles that contain THC, and storing them appropriately. This recipe is an excellent way to enjoy 420 in a healthy and affordable way, infused or not.