A Beginner’s Guide to Banana Nice Cream

Creamy, sugary, delicious goodness—ice cream is probably one of the most iconic and popular desserts in America. It has come to permeate our culture in references from ice cream sundaes and banana splits to just about anything à la mode. However, with Earth Day just a few days away on April 22nd, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of our dessert choices. 

Dairy cows in the U.S. alone consume about 1,410,000,000 liters of water each day. Aside from water scarcity, dairy cows also heavily contribute to air pollution and waste; the waste of 200 dairy cows produces the same amount of nitrogen as 10,000 people according to the USDA. This waste is not only extremely harmful to the environment, but also contaminates the water and air in the often impoverished neighborhoods that surround these dairy farms, negatively impacting the residents of said communities. 

Regardless of the ethical, environmental, and health concerns of dairy, it’s hard to deny how tasty ice cream is. Recently, many people have opted for a much healthier and equally delicious alternative—nice cream! Nice cream is ice cream made almost entirely out of frozen bananas. Compared to dairy, bananas take up much less land, are low waste, and have a small carbon footprint of 80g CO2e per banana. Plus, nice cream is super healthy and easy to make.

How to Make the Base:

Making banana ice cream is as simple as blending frozen bananas. 

For a slightly softer texture, you can add in one room temperature banana for every two frozen bananas. This will give you a texture similar to gelato.

If you’re craving something a bit creamier, add in a splash of your favorite nut milk!

Bananas have a lot of natural sugars, but you can add a teaspoon of honey or agave (or a pitted date) to satisfy your sweet tooth as well as a sprinkle of salt to enhance the flavor. 

Tip: The riper the bananas, the sweeter the ice cream!

Time to Customize:

The best thing about nice cream is how easy it is to customize and create the flavor combinations of your dreams. Here are some of my favourite mix-ins that you can blend with the base ingredients listed above!

Blueberry

  • 4 frozen bananas
  • 1¼  cup of (preferably frozen) blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or agave

Peanut Butter Chocolate:

  • 4 frozen bananas
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or artificial pancake syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

Instructions:

Blend bananas and cocoa powder. Then, microwave peanut butter and honey/syrup for 10-15 seconds or until it begins to bubble. Then, remove and stir until thoroughly combined (this will not work if the peanut butter is natural). 

Now, once the peanut butter sauce cools down, you can drizzle it on top of or fold it into your ice cream. 

Gingerbread Cookie:

  • 4 frozen bananas
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • (optional) a few drops of vanilla extract
  • (optional) ½ cup of rolled oats (make sure to mix the oats in after blending)

Tip: You can adjust the amount of spices to taste. This is super customizable! You can also opt out of using rolled oats, but I find this is a great way to add texture! If it’s not textured enough, add even more oats!

Strawberry:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup of (preferably frozen) strawberries

Cherry and Chocolate:

  • 4 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup of (preferably frozen) pitted cherries
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Orange Mint:

  • 4 bananas
  • 1 small strip of orange rind
  • 2-4 sprigs of mint
  • 1½ tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon

Once you’ve made your banana ice cream, all that’s left to do is add toppings (like oreos, cocoa nibs, pistachios, sprinkles, etc.) and enjoy! These are just some of my favorite recipes, but nice cream is a blank canvas for virtually any flavors you can possibly imagine. Now that you’re done, just store your ice cream in your freezer in a tightly sealed container and you’re good to go!