How to salvage overripe bananas: Inevitably, I don't get to the entire bunch of bananas before one or two starts to go bad, getting soft on the inside. When that happens, I have a few go-to tricks for salvaging them in their less-than-ideal state. First, smoothies. Frozen bananas are a boon to blended drinks, because they can act like ice so you don't need to add any (or as much). Plus, they have a creamy, dreamy taste. Make sure to pop a banana out of its peel before freezing in a zip-top bag, then use as needed for smoothies. Overripe bananas are also great in baked goods, especially banana nut bread, any kind of fruit muffin and even chocolate chip cookies. Most recipes call for the banana to be mashed before it's added to the batter; here's a trick for that (which works even if the banana isn't yet soft). To save a bowl, keep the banana in the peel and gently smoosh the whole thing a few times, then roll it back and forth on the counter for a few seconds, pressing down until the peel splits. Open the peel where it split, and inside you'll find a mashed banana.
Michelle Stark, Times food editor