We eat a lot of fruit at our house, and I keep a basket on the kitchen table well stocked with whatever’s in season. Right now, it’s full of oranges, clementines, pears, and apples.
Since the whole family loves fruit, it was quite a surprise when my youngest daughter turned on it at age two, and I couldn’t figure out why. Until then, she’d enthusiastically scooped up soft chunks of banana, halved grapes, and thin slices of cantaloupe from her high-chair tray. That changed suddenly when Mia refused to enter the kitchen if a banana was being peeled; the aroma was that disturbing. The smell of honeydew melon made her gag. She even refused fruit-flavored toothpaste, and disliked the fruity-smelling shampoo we used on her hair. It’s just a phase, I thought; it’ll pass.
Then one day I had an idea: I would create a recipe that combined a banana, a layer of Nutella, and a layer of colorful, crushed cereal on top of that. I called it banana sushi, and I served it with chopsticks. My fruit hater wouldn’t go near it, but it was a hit with my older kids.
Banana sushi makes an awesome appetizer at a kids’ party or tea party, but it’s equally good for breakfast or an after-school snack. You can dress it up by using almond butter or cream cheese in place of chocolate, and you can roll the banana in granola, mini chocolate chips, trail mix, dried cranberries, or raisins.
What Kids Learn
- How to make delicious foods look even more appealing
- What to do to ripen a bunch of bananas
- A trick to delay bananas from going bad
What You’ll Need
- 1 large banana
- 2 tablespoons Nutella chocolate spread (or peanut butter, or Marshmallow Fluff)
- 4 tablespoons colored sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, coarsely chopped colorful cereal, or your favorite chopped nuts
What to Do
- Let your little sushi chef peel the banana and place it on a large piece of parchment or waxed paper.
Teachable Moment #1: 4 Practical “Spoiler Alerts”
- Unpeeled bananas go brown quickly because they release a chemical called ethylene, which helps initiate the ripening process. Separate the bananas to slow it down.
- To speed up ripening again, place the banana in a paper bag. To really put the pedal to the metal, add an ethylene-oozing fruit, like an apple!
- Rinse fruits and vegetables just before you eat them. Any earlier makes it easier for bacteria to grow!
- Give fruits and vegetables room to breathe. Plastic bags from the market trap air and rot-accelerating moisture inside.
- Using a small plastic knife, show her how to measure out the chocolate spread and coat the banana. Let her take over and cover the entire banana.
- Guide her as she measures the colored sprinkles (or alternative topping), places them on a plate, and carefully rolls the banana in the sprinkles.
- Carefully lay the banana back on the parchment. Using a sharp knife, slice it into 1 1/2-inch slices, so that it resembles pieces of sushi.
- Arrange the banana sushi on a plate and offer your tasters a pair of chopsticks. Want a dipping sauce? Pour bottled raspberry syrup into a little dish and serve it with the sushi. Or try chocolate syrup instead.
Teachable Moment #2: 4 Surprising Chopstick Facts
- Chopsticks as we know them were first used about 5,000 years ago in China. People believed that silver chopsticks would turn color if exposed to poison—so emperors often preferred them.
- Around 250 A.D., the use of chopsticks began to spread to other cultures in Asia. Different regions have different styles of chopsticks—and different rules for what’s considered polite when using them.
- Chopsticks is the English name for the utensils. In Chinese they’re called kuizi, and in Japanese they’re called hashi.
- Don’t use your chopsticks to grab food directly from someone else’s! Instead, use plates as your go-between. Also, it’s not polite to use chopsticks to spear your food or to place them standing up in your bowl.