Dec. 14, 2011— -- Remember the old frozen-banana-on-a-stick trick to get kids to eat fruit instead of sugary popsicles? Well, it was pretty good, wasn't it? Now there's Yonanas -- a gadget that transforms those over-ripe frozen bananas into a creamy soft-serve that will trick you once again.
The machine is about the size of a coffee maker, with a chute on the top and a spout on the bottom. Turn it on, push in a few frozen 'nanners and any other fixings (frozen berries, nuts or chocolate) and out swirls a sweet treat that tastes like ice cream without the fat.
As a big banana fan, I couldn't wait to take Yonanas for a spin. But while the instructions are easy to follow, it took a couple tries to get it right.
The bananas can't be too hard or too soft. And you really have to cram them in (I had to use both hands and all my might).
You'll need three bananas to make two servings. And the only way to get all the product out of the machine, according to the instructions, is to push in more frozen bananas.
The instructional video makes it all look effortless: the pushing, the swirling and the cleaning. And granted it is a quicker process than making ice cream. But the machine isn't perfect. It's loud, and when you dismantle it for cleaning you'll find another half-serving stuck inside. It's dishwasher safe, but I still had banana goo stuck in the corners after a pre-clean in the sink and a run in the dishwasher.
Nevertheless, the end product is good. My favorite Yonanas combo is bananas with peanuts and peanut butter -- it's creamy with just the right amount of crunch. Berries are a tasty addition too, but the seeds were a deal-breaker for me.
The machine comes with a list of recipes, from blackberry vanilla bean to pecan pie. There are also recipes for banana-free sorbets made with melons and berries. But if you don't like bananas, Yonanas probably isn't for you.
If the machine was a little quieter and easier to clean, it would be amazing. As is, it's pretty cool. I imagine it would be loads of fun with kids. But even my 30-year-old friends were into it (according to a poll at my recent Yonanas party).
Yonanas would be a great gift for the banana enthusiast -- particularly someone who's looking for new ways to cut calories. But the casual banana eater should give this gadget a miss. Save your strength and your counter space.