Oh the humble banana. It seems most unassuming at first blush, crowded as it is into inelegant bunches lolling precariously on produce aisle shelves. And it appears so banal: a dull yellow exterior with a rather mid-’90s era beige interior (and not even an interesting texture to redeem matters!).
Certainly not a looker when compared with the riotous colors seen elsewhere at a farm stand: vermillion, green, purple even! So why exalt this rather lowly of fruits?
Things have gotten a bit heavy here on the ol’ Frugalwoods of late, what with my feminist manifesto and all kinds of serious career-related and being-an-adult topics. So I thought we should keep it real with a good old fashioned ode to some fruit. Because honestly, who among us doesn’t devote at least some portion of our day to thinking about fruit? Or snacks?! Do I hear it for snacks? Because a banana is the perfect frugal snack. Ok, yes, admittedly I’ve said these exact words about other things (for example popcorn… ) but today, it’s all about BANANAS.
The Cheapest Of Fruits
The banana possesses a secret strength: it is the world’s most frugal of fruits. While apples, pears, oranges and the like might tempt and beckon with promises of interior juice and gleaming skins, their price tags match these lavish exteriors at anywhere from $0.90 to $2.00 per pound. Egads!
But not the banana. The banana is content to satisfy our hunger for a mere $0.39 per pound (sidenote: this is Stop-n-Shop’s banana price and it’s the one thing they sell more cheaply than Market Basket, whose bananas clock in at $0.49 per pound. Oh yes, I know the prices of bananas all around town. This makes me very popular with… uh, no one.).
Your standard banana tips the scales at a dainty 160 grams (aka 0.35 lbs), which yields a per-banana price of the devastatingly low 13.6 cents. I highly doubt there’s any other foodstuff nearly so healthy available for anywhere near so economical a price.
And while we’re at it, folks, let’s all be impressed with my sweet math skills there, thankyouverymuch. P.S. did you ever wonder what I do in my spare time? I weigh bananas!!! (photographic evidence at right)
Nature’s Original Gangster Candy Bar
In addition to setting a new standard for frugality-while-snacking, a banana comes individually wrapped, with a built-in handle, ready to be carted near and far for lunch or snack or meal. It’s equal parts tasty and convenient to transport, which is key for the frugal weirdo on the go. Long before banana-flavored power bars and bourgeois banana smoothies, there was–quite simply–the banana. All on its own and altogether fabulous.
Far cheaper and healthier than anything packaged in plastic, the banana is the original gangster granola bar, candy bar, Graze Box (I cannot even believe this is a thing. And people wonder why they can’t save money. I mean seriously). Furthermore, bananas are our longtime travel companions–whether we’re destined for a mountaintop, a 901-mile roadtrip, or a particularly long day in an airport–a banana is there for us.
Of course if you’re concerned about the longevity of your banana on an arduous trip (I mean, who doesn’t lay awake nights fretting about bruised banana skin???!!!), you can always invest in a banana tote. Oh that’s right, there’s something on the market called a banana tote. And I’ve linked to it twice now because it’s just that ridiculous (how about a third time: banana tote!). Though I don’t own one, I’ll admit the thought has crossed my frugal mind on more than one occasion. There’s something about purpose-built individual produce transit systems that intrigue me.
The Bananas Of Our Lives
Bananas make an appearance in our lives on a daily basis. Mr. Frugalwoods and I both munch one every morning atop our $0.10/serving oats. It’s the ideal fruitorial compliment to our whole grains and it adds just the right amount of sweetness to the first meal of the day.
In fact, bananas pair beautifully with quite a few different frugal feasts. There’s the classic bananas with peanut butter, one of my all-time faves (anytime I can work peanut butter into my day, I’m delighted). And let’s not forget the dessert companions–ice cream, pudding, cake–nearly anything in the pantry can be improved by the addition of a banana. Anchovies and banana, why not?! Ok not so much on that last one.
Plus, a banana can be eaten raw with nary a chef’s preparation required (this being crucial for people like me who 100% fail at cooking endeavors). While one could perhaps flambé or rotisserie or even fondue their ‘nana, I rather prefer to chow mine plain and unadulterated, as nature intended (of course peanut butter is an adulteration that nature most definitely intended. Trust me, I write things on the internet).
Bananas: Other Uses
Beyond their culinary merits, let’s not forget that bananas serve other valuable purposes in our lives. What else would we use for our fake telephone? Additionally, they make for a fantastic baby-length measuring mechanism. My baby, for example, currently clocks in at three bananas long. If that’s not a useful data point, I don’t know what is.
And, of course, bananas are optimal as hats for greyhounds. It’s a well known fact that greyhounds adore both bananas and wearing hats.* Frugal Hound looks simply divine in her fruit-come-headpiece.
*blatantly false on both counts
The Epitome Of Efficiency
As an unabashed efficiency maven, bananas appeal to me above all else for their incredible encapsulation of frugal efficiency. Bananas meet the requirements of being inexpensive, terribly healthy, easy to tote, ready to consume at a moment’s notice, and naturally scrumptious. While popcorn may claim the role of perfect warm frugal snack, the banana certainly stands tall as the quintessential frugal produce selection.
In all seriousness, although our snacks might seem a small and lowly expense, ’tis folly to ignore even the most ignoble of budget line items. By frugalizing one’s fruit consumption, one can reap the rewards of sweet and juicy bucks saved. So go forth and eat a banana (unless you’re allergic, in which case you have my condolences. Furthermore, do not blame me for banana-related injuries to self, babies, or greyhounds).
Urgent edit: following publication of this erudite entry, a number of concerned readers brought to light my gross oversight in neglecting to mention banana bread. I’m deeply ashamed and only hope that this photo of some banana bread I baked will help rectify my standing among frugal banana enthusiasts everywhere. Please accept my profound apologies and know that I am a devotee of bananas in bread.