When life is bananas what do you do? Make banana bread, of course! Banana bread is considered a quick bread. It uses baking powder rather than yeast to leaven the cake. Banana bread is a kitchen staple since it’s easy to make and prepared with simple ingredients. Everyone has their family twist to the recipe but have you ever wondered where banana bread originated? We’ve been baking tons of loaves these days, so we did and decided to find out.
Until the 1900s, bananas were not readily available in the United States. Since they ripen quickly, there was no way to easily transport them from Southeast Asia. At the turn of the 20th century, the evolution of refrigeration meant bananas could be transported properly. They became more readily available to American consumers.
It wasn’t until the 1930s that bananas were incorporated into baking. Two things happened in 1930 that changed that.
First, the Great Depression began. Food was scarce and every penny mattered. Bananas ripen quickly. Women spent precious money on them and did not want to throw away the rotten bananas.
Around the same time, baking soda and baking powder began to be mass-produced. Baking powder companies began producing recipes for quick breads that used their product.
A banana bread recipe first appeared in Pillsbury’s 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook. By the time a recipe was printed in Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book in the 1950s, popularity for banana bread was raised and it was here to stay.
The combination of these two events collided to create the banana bread craze.
If you want to see the evolution of banana bread, King Arthur Flour took a look at banana bread recipes from the 1930s through today. It’s pretty interesting. In the 1930s, wheat bran was added to the recipe because it was an inexpensive filler. This resulted in a rough-textured loaf. During the 1960s, ingredients like vanilla, almond, orange, nutmeg, and coffee began to be added. By the 1980s, a whole stick of butter made its way into the recipe.
Blue Ribbon Banana Bread Recipes
Next time bananas have sat a little too long on the counter make sure not to toss them. Make one of these amazing Blue Ribbon banana bread recipes.