Banana

 

 

The banana is the fruit of a pseudo stem plant, grown from an approximately 7 m high corm. The plant was domesticated in Southeastern Asia and archaeological discoveries have shown that cultivation of the wild variety dated since 500 BC.  The fruit can be very tasty when ripe and eaten raw, but it is also a common ingredient in some cuisines as unripe fruits. The texture varies from firm to mushy while the taste is sweet when ripe (that is when than color is bright yellow, sometimes even purple or red) and starchy when unripe (the color may seem greenish).

The most famous banana cultivar is “Cavendish”- it became a celebrity in global commerce in the ‘50s when the popular banana cultivar at that time, “Gros Michel”, was attacked by the Panama disease. The reason for which Cavendish bananas are so appreciated is not the taste, nor the flavor, but the less perishable properties it has. While the other cultivars must be collected while still unripe, Cavendish can be transported in a longer time and with lower costs because they ripe slower than the other varieties.

Bananas are used in tropical countries as a major staple food, just as Europeans use potatoes; but bananas are far healthier than potatoes. Only 100 grams of banana flesh contains 22 rams of carbohydrates, more than 30% vitamin B, and 15% vitamin C, not to mention large amounts of potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Although on the healthiest fruit list, bananas can cause allergies: the oral allergy syndrome (itchiness and swelling after approximately one hour after ingestion) and latex allergy (which can lead to urticaria and gastrointestinal problems).

The top banana producer is India with 23% of the worldwide crop, followed by Brazil and China. Due to the high demand and the large and important producers, bananas have been available as a “fair trade” is some countries.

Banana Bread

 

 

We all know about banana bread – it’s that yummy, moist sweetbread that we use those nasty old black over-ripe bananas for. I can remember many-a-time hearing my mother shout, “Don’t throw those bananas away!” I now know that bananas are at their sweetest at this stage and help to make the bread nice and moist. I guard them diligently until I’m ready to get out my recipe and learn how to make banana bread.

Banana bread recipes started appearing in cookbooks around America in the 1930s. It is not bread in the true sense of the word because there is no leavening agent used, but baking soda instead. The mixture doesn’t form dough to be kneaded and then set aside to rise, just a thick batter. In the 1960s it became even more popular because it was so easy to make. Banana bread is actually the most popular in cafes in Australia where it is at served at breakfast. 

Now there are any many different variations of this simple recipe, like healthy banana bread, banan nut bread etc... Here is a classic version of homemade banana bread. It is actually made more like a cake so that it has a smooth texture with smaller crumbs. 

Banana Bread Variations
There are a lot of things you can to vary this recipe, which does not have nuts. Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

I like to give my banana bread a Jamaican flair occasionally. Use this recipe (with nuts), leave out the buttermilk and add two tablespoons of rum. After you’ve poured the batter into the loaf pan, sprinkle 1/2 cup of coconut on top and then bake as usual. Make a glaze of 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1-1/2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice. Drizzle this on top while the bread is still warm. If you still want more ideas how to make banana breadbrowse the rest of this site, there are plenty of cool recipes that you can choose from.

 

 


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