Banana plant is well known as one of the most popular plants in world fruit. Almost people consume banana each day as a nutritive fruit for health with the widely status more than any fruit else.
Banana is also the wonderful ingredient in culinary. It gives the passion to many housewives and home chefs who create the rich recipes in which the main factor is banana. So is there anything else to talk about banana more than an element in the recipes when it is so such widely consumed. Yes, of course, the story of banana plant from the beginning has some points that make you to think about interestingly.
When did human consume banana?
The banana was the fruit consumed from the very early time. And the banana plant was considered the first fruit that was maybe cultivated in the world. There are the evidences from the archaeology supposed that the banana plant was cultivated from 5.000 – 8.000 BC in Asia and New Guinea. Africa was the second area that the diversity of banana was found.
In the Middle East, banana could be cultivated before the Islam around 6th or 7th century, and then was widely spread to other countries as Palestine, Egypt, North Africa and Muslim Iberia (or Muslim Spain).
Banana was less popular in America until 15th, 16th century. The Portuguese colonist at that time introduced this fruit to the America. Then banana was consumed there but with high price and little amount. When banana became more popular in the America, it was still not known widely in Europe. Later then, this fruit was used there more popularly.
Nowadays, banana is grown, used and imported-exported in more than hundred countries in the world. The banana in the room temperature is easy to turn to be ripe, so thanks to the development of refrigeration, also the transport, the banana is more popular and widely consumed in the world compared with the past when it has been mainly the local consumption. The good conditions like refrigeration then rapid transport are the factors effective to help the banana used widely today from place to place.
Banana and features
Banana plant is the largest flowering plant in the herbaceous family. It has long large leaves (could be up to 2.7m long and 60 cm wide) and tall stem (could be up to 5m). The stem grows from the corm and is considered as tree but actually it is not. After being flowered and fruited (mostly a bunch each stem, there are tiers for a bunch and many fruits (up to 20) for a tier), the stem will die and another one will grow from the corm.
It is said that the banana plant is easy to grow in different conditions included weather and soil and area, and banana fruits are tasty with the sweetness, creamy flesh and starchy texture contained. And they are cheap in price, so the banana plant becomes the widely plant in fruit plant list for growing in many countries in the world with the sustained status through the time – it is easy to be understood.
Usage and storage
Each part from the banana plant can be used with different benefit such as:
- Trunk of the banana plant: In some countries it is used as a source of vegetable for animals. After harvesting the banana, the trunk is cut down and chopped then boiled with corn or cassava to feed animal. It is also the material foe weaving after peeling and drying. Trunk banana core is also used in cooking or decorating in the local ceremonies in some places.
- Banana flower: it is used as an ingredient in the vegetable group in some countries, especially the places such as countries in Southeast Asia; the banana flower is used in some delicious dishes such as salad or fried dishes.
- The tuber of banana plant: it is also used as an ingredient in cooking in some countries.
- Banana leaves: they are used mostly as fresh status to wrap other ingredients in cooking such as wrapping meat, fish etc in the steaming, grilling. The dry leaves are used to wrap some local cakes, keep and pack the foods.
- The banana fruit: there are two main groups of banana fruits such as banana group for eating raw and plantain group for cooking. Eaten banana groups are not only for direct consuming when they are ripe, but also they are used as a great ingredient in salads and cakes, bread and sweet soups. There is a long list of banana recipes that you can use to renew your meal each day with ripe banana fruits.
- Otherwise the plantain groups are considered not banana. They are not eaten raw. They must be cooked before serving. The plantain is such as potato. It gives the starchy and low sweetness.
Related to the eaten banana fruit, it is easy to be ripe gradually in the normal temperature. So you can use it gradually too. If it is hot, the banana fruit is fast ripening. So you or have to use it as fast as it is ripe or you have to keep it in the fridge with paper bag wrapped. However the cold may cause the dark color for the banana peel. The time for keeping in the fridge is just few days. It is not so as long as different types of fruit and also depends on each types of banana.
It is said that the frozen ripe banana can be kept for more than a month. To freeze the whole fruits, you should remove the peel, apply some lemon juice or lime juice to the banana and then keep them in a plastic bag before freezing. This way is to help to prevent the bananas to be darkened. In the case you do not freeze whole fruit; you can puree it and then freeze.
Related to plantain, it is easier for you to store. It is in good status in the room temperatures for few days. To keep it longer, you may put it in the fridge with paper wrap or newspaper like keeping potato and some other fruit. It may be fresh in week and even more.
So, some words above may fresh you in mind about banana somehow. It may give you again some information that you momentarily neglected before. Do you eat a banana today? If not, take one and think about its story. Then you may feel the tasty flavor mixed in the interesting details of banana than ever.