There are so very many things to be said in praise of the bounteous banana. Don’t you just love everything about them. Their smell, their color and their big umbrella leaves.
The fruits are botanically classified as berries and grow in clusters up to 100 lbs in weight. You would need a rare appetite to munch through that bunch.
Bananas come in many sizes and different colors too. While native to South Esst Asia they are now grown in tropical climes all around the world.
Can’t remember the first time I had a banana. Most probably it was smashed up as a weaning food since they are known to be gentle even on the tiniest tummy.
What does come to mind is that banana sandwiches and bananas on toast were a quick staple meal in my childhood home.
My Mum told me stories about how, during World War II, it was impossible to find a banana. So people would improvise by mashing up parsnips and adding banana essence to them and then spreading this concoction onto bread instead of the real thing.
When I first went to work in Switzerland I once made a banana sandwich for lunch. The people working with me had had a deprived childhood and had never seen such a thing! They thought it was hilarious and for the longest time I had the nickname “La BANANE”
More fond memories of the wondrous fruit include my first trip to India with Krishna. There, of course, bananas were growing in abundance including the tiny sweet baby ones that I got to taste for the first time. We bought them in the traditional market in downtown Mysore and took a big bunch with us when going to visit Krishna’s sister Kamala.
When you think of a snack size bite size treat the baby banana is nature’s original best.
Also on this first trip to India we had plenty of the very tasty salty banana chips. They are made from underripe plantains that are deep fried in coconut oil. YUMMY!
If you haven’t tried these yet then hunt some out at your local Asian supermarket. They are so moreish so very crispy and perfectly sized for dipping. If you like spice you will certainly find some hot ones.
What is so wonderful about the banana plant is that it grows so easily and self propagates. We eat them but so do many other species too. They are an excellent rapidly digested energy source and pack a powerful punch of minerals and antioxidants too.
Best of all not a single piece of the plant goes to waste. Herbivores like buffalo and cattle will happily munch through the skin. The leaves can be used as disposable plates and the fibrous stalks can be transformed into construction materials. The possibilities are endless and they clean up the air for us too.
What would our world do without the glory of the big yellow berry bunch!!!