Half the women who live around here have aging bananas in their freezers.
I have made a shocking discovery, though. Some of those bananas are never used to make banana bread.
Several women have admitted to me that they sometimes throw those bananas away. Either they're just not in the mood, or the bananas get in the way of other things in the freezer. After all, the bananas have to share space with rhubarb and pork loin that people got on sale.
I think lots of people stuff bananas in the freezer just to follow family tradition. That's what Mom and Grandma used to do. Maybe those people have good intentions, and the right moment to make banana bread never arrives. Or maybe they're just going through the motions. Plus, it doesn't help that bananas in the freezer can be disgusting.
One woman says she looks at bananas in her freezer and they look too gross to use. Another woman said they eventually become too black, ugly-looking and slimy.
Digging in her freezer, Peggy Scott once mistook an old banana for a bratwurst.
Carrie Cole knows she's never going to use the bananas she saves. But they have to stay in the freezer for a while before they somehow disappear.
Some people who make banana bread regularly still throw bananas out.
Janie Patton removes bananas from her freezer "because they were in my way and I had new ones to put in there - new old ones."
Lots of cooks don't store bananas in the freezer. They just let them sit on the counter until they decide it's time for banana bread.
Alison Dirr says at her parents' house, her dad doesn't like the looks of overly ripe bananas, so he buys new ones. Then they become old. "We always have a cycle of bad bananas," she says.
Saving bananas in the freezer might be a tradition just in the Dakotas. Dirr, who's from Minneapolis, has never heard of freezing bananas.
But a passion for banana bread is widespread. My son Bryan doesn't want to get my mother mad because "I don't need Grandma cutting me off from banana bread. His brother and sister also like banana bread, but Bryan doesn't give them a chance to eat it.
Cole was very popular in college because her grandma would send her banana bread once a month.
Some people love banana bread, but never make it. Maria Sevareid waits for someone to bring it into work.
For his banana bread, Will Elkins relies on other people's families.
Greg Guenin's wife is allergic to bananas. Usually when I want to have banana bread, I have to go to a church bake sale to buy it.
Diane Randall's three sons go through a lot of banana bread. I make eight loaves each time, and I do it twice a month, she says.
She likes to store bananas in her freezer because when you defrost them, they're liquidy. The banana juice produces banana bread that is moister and tastes better, Randall said.
She has a system for aging bananas. She puts them in a paper bag under her bed for one night. They then spend two nights in the freezer. The dark makes the bananas ripen faster, and it's cool under her bed. If the bananas are green, they spend two nights under her bed.
Randall likes making banana bread, but she has had it with zucchini bread. When she was a teenager, for five years in a row she made 50 loaves of zucchini bread in a weekend. Making zucchini bread is a lot of work, she says, and it's a job she will never do again.
I don't even want to look at a zucchini, she said.
Jeff Bahr is an American News reporter. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His phone number is 605-622-2320.