Sunday (5/19/13) 6:55pm - ... wherein Peter posts Yonanas instructions.
So, I've had a Yonanas machine -- a food processor that turns frozen bananas into soft-serve dessert -- for about six months, and I've settled into a pretty good food-prep routine with it, so I figured I'd post about it here. I'll lapse into second person a bit below, but really, I'm just explaining what *I* do, so take it with a grain of salt.
I use the Yonanas machine to prepare one large batch at a time, which I then freeze in single servings and eat over the next month-ish. So one of my preps will require processing, say, two or three bunches of bananas.
First off, it's key to let the bananas "cheetah" -- that is, let them get to the point where they're spotted like a cheetah -- before you freeze them. Bananas get sweeter as they ripen, and you want the dessert to be sweet, not bland. So, leave the bananas out for a few days after purchase, and, once they're spotty, peel them, break them in half, bag them, and freeze them. You'll want to freeze them at least overnight.
You'll want to collect some other ingredients to mix with the bananas. These are ingredients I've had the best luck with:
- Peanut butter, or (healthier option) PB2 powder.
- Mascarpone cheese.
- Other frozen fruit, especially cherries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.
- Local wildflower honey.
After the bananas have frozen overnight, you're good to go. Set up your machine. I find it handy to keep one of those grippy pot-holders
handy -- sometimes the plunger is hard to remove from the machine, so those help quite a bit with that. I also set up a Gladware sandwich box
below the aperture of the machine. You'll also want a plate or something to set the plunger on while you're adding more ingredients to the hopper.
Okay. Now that your kitchen's prepared, take out the non-banana ingredients and keep them near your workspace. As for the bananas, I usually take a half-dozen or so out of the freezer at a time, but them in a bowl, and briefly defrost them in the microwave
(Once you've run those through the machine, get the next half-dozen and repeat.)
Then, you put one "starter banana" in the machine before adding any other ingredients. Drop two halves in the machine, turn on the motor, and push the fruit in using the plunger.
Note that you will *not* want to leave the Yonanas machine in the "on" position any more than you have to. This is partly because the motor is loud and annoying, but mainly because the motor is cheap, and you don't want to burn it out. Between leaving the motor off when you're not using it and defrosting the bananas a bit, the machine should handle large batches just fine.
Also note that you never need to push the plunger all the way down; this can make the plunger 'seal' in place, which makes it very hard to remove. (You may want to use the grippy pot holder to handle the plunger, especially once the machine gets kind of messy.)
At this point, you have free rein to add whatever combinations of fruits/etc. you want. These are the combinations I've had the best luck with myself ("Bananas" are an implied ingredient in each.)
- Peanut Butter (or PB2 powder).
- Honey, cinnamon, and mascarpone.
- Blueberries and mascarpone.
- Cherries, coconut, and mascarpone.
- Raspberries and nutella.
- Strawberries and feta cheese.
Basically, keep adding ingredients and running them through the machine until your sandwich box is full. At this point I close the box, dash off its ingredient list on a small sheet of paper, put the paper on top of the box, and put the box in the freezer. Then I set up another box and feed the machine a different set of ingredients.
Repeat until you are out of bananas. By this point you should have a nice little stack of boxes in your freezer (and probably a bit of a mess in your kitchen).
At this point, I wait overnight, which lets the boxes of desserts hard-freeze.
After that, I'll take the first box out of the freezer. I turn it over and run some warm water on the bottom of it for a few seconds. Then I open the box and push out the contents onto a cutting board. At this point, it's a neat little rectangular solid
of dessert. Then, I take a giant and wicked-looking knife, run the blade under hot water, and use it to cut the dessert into nine pieces, tic-tac-toe-style. I dump the nine resulting cubes into a bag, mark the bag with the ingredients from the sheet of paper, and stow the bag in the freezer.
Repeat for all remaining sandwich boxes.
Finally, when it comes time to eat a single-serving cube, I can just drop one in a bowl and microwave it for fifteen seconds. Ta-da!
_____ I put them in for thirty seconds at power setting three (out of ten). After that, you shouldn't be able to, say, press your finger into the surface of the banana, but it won't be so frozen that it makes the machine make an obvious, labored "chopping" sound. Other fruits aren't as much of a problem, but you still may want to defrost them for shorter durations.