Ripe bananas freeze easily. Mash, adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice for each cup of bananas to prevent darkening. For this recipe, freeze in 1.5- cup quantities.
1 1/4 cups sugar 1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium) 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour* 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup chopped nuts, if desired Place oven rack in lowest positive. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches. Mix sugar and margarine in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans. Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 1/4 hours or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days. 2 loaves (24 slices each); 85 calories per slice.
*If using self-rising, omit baking soda and salt
To Microwave: Grease 12-cup microwavable bundt cake dish generously. Prepare batter as directed. Pour into dish. Microwave uncovered on high 12 to 14 minutes, rotating dish 1/4 turn every 4 minutes, until top springs back when touched lightly. Let stand on heatproof surface (not on wire rack) 10 minutes. remove from dish; cool.
Chocolate-peanut banana bread: Substitute 1 can (5 ounces) macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted, and 1/3 cup flaked coconut for the chopped nuts. 95 calories per slice.
Mini Banana Breads: Grease bottoms only of 10 miniature loaf pans 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches. Divide batter among pans (about 1/2 cup each). Bake 30 to 35 minutes. 10 loaves (8 slices each, 4 slices per serving); 205 calories per serving.