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Banana Sherbet Recipe - Gelato di Banane


When Artusi presented this banana gelato recipe in 1891 he felt it necessary to describe bananas, which were at the time quite exotic. No longer, but the presentation is neat and the recipe is good.

Artusi's introduction:
The banana, which Lineus called musa paradisiaca, is commonly known as Adam's Fig Tree, or the Tree Of The Earthly Paradise, because the people hold it to have been the famous forbidden fruit, and believe that Adam and Eve used its ample leaves to cover their nudity after their fall from grace.

The banana tree is native to the Indies; its fruit resembles a green cucumber in appearance, but is smooth skinned and faceted. The pulp is delicately flavored, but it has a markedly astringent effect if it's not fully ripe. To make sherbets, you should choose bananas with yellow skins, which will be ripe.

A word of explanation: Pellegrino Artusi wrote more than a century ago. At that time Italians considered the banana exotic. So exotic that Domenico Amaducci, a friend of one of Artusi's nephews who called on the old man and was invited to dinner, described them in a letter to his parents -- he'd never seen one before. Artusi served them with prosciutto as an appetizer.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 4 Bananas, which, when peeled, will weigh 1/2 pound (225 g)
  • 1 cup (225 g) sugar
  • A garden lemon
  • 1 pint (500 ml) water
  • An ice cream machine


Press the banana pulp through a strainer and add the juice of the lemon.

Boil the water and the sugar, uncovered, for five minutes.

Combine the syrup with the bananas, and let the mixture cool somewhat before putting it into your ice cream machine.

Yield: six servings banana gelato.

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