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This is BANANAS!

banana fruit on wood crate

There are so many ways you can eat bananas, you can eat them raw, have them in a smoothie, fry them or bake them, it doesn’t matter. Bananas are low in calories and high in nutrients, nutritionists say a banana contains about 90 calories in which 23% is carbohydrates, 1% is protein and the rest is water; they are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. Did you know there are over 1,000 different types of bananas all over the world? different shapes, colors and flavors. Today we are going to focus on just a few of them.

The most common type of banana is called Cavandish, this is the type you will find in any supermarket, they are usually sold green – semi yellow, they are often called the dessert banana because of its sweetness, as this banana ripens and becomes brown the flavor intensifies and becomes even sweeter. They are perfect for smoothies or banana bread.

The most common type in the Caribbean, South East Asia, Central Africa and Latin America is the Plantain. This is a type of cooking banana, often called the green banana is perfect for frying, boiling or steaming. Not as sweet as the Cavandish is actually more starchy and is considered as such. Just as the Cavandish if you let it ripen it becomes much sweeter and it develops a deep yellow color inside. Some examples how my culture uses plantains are, green plantains are perfect for Tostones (fried green plantains) or ripen plantains that are perfect for Maduros (sweet fried plantains).

Baby bananas are also called Lady finger bananas, because they are around 3 inches in length. They are creamy in texture and have a honey like feel in flavor. A lot of parents buy them for their kids lunches since they are small and just as nutritious. The Gros Michel used to be the most common banana around the world before the Cavandish. The reason why we don’t have them around anymore is because the Panama diseased wiped out most of the plantations in the 1950’s. The people who ate them say they are a lot sweeter and they preferred those to the Cavandish. Some countries in Asia still grow them but they are not as common any more.

Some other examples of popular bananas are the Red banana, Blue Java (yes, its actually blue) and people say it tastes like a vanilla bean, Manzano, Psang Raja, just to name a few.

Bananas are very versatile you can use the peels to compost and even the banana leaf is useful! many countries use the leaves to cook their foods in. The banana leaf is flexible and water proof many countries boil, steam or grill their foods in them. One example is Tamales.

Some ways you can extend your bananas from ripen quickly are putting a plastic wrap to the stem of each individual banana, this prevents oxygen from going inside, Also, you can put your semi ripen bananas in the fridge, just make sure the place them in the fridge when they are not green anymore; the skin will turn black but the inside will not ripen.

Whatever you decide to use bananas for just remember the versatility of this fruit and how many different cultures use different varieties for their dishes and desserts. With so many different varieties don’t be afraid to try new things, and like Gwen Stefani said, is all about B-A-N-A-N-AS!

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