I’ve always loved writing but seemed to have lost my mojo, that’s ‘Bananas’ right! So, I thought I’ve got to write something soon.
I was encouraged to write a diary from a ‘wee age’, then I went on to write short story’s in to my teens, then poetry which occasionally I’d get published, I even wrote a few songs. Then while working as a chef in London I wrote a Vegetarian cook book, publishing several copy’s in a ring binder – those were the days of self-publication! And then a children’s novel which I sent round to all the publishers, only to be rejected like millions of others. I didn’t give up, my second novel an adults thriller was written while my children were very tiny. I didn’t get that published either –
But I stuck with the dream – sitting in my caravan while renovating Lodge Farm I wrote ‘Jack Soup-er-Hero’ a children’s book about an autistic boy’s challenges in life and the soup that give him super power confidence – bugger publishers, I’m in the process of publishing myself and it’s on Amazon to down load – I’ll get there.
In the meantime, until I get my mojo back, I thought I’d write a blog about Bananas, why not, I love bananas.
‘What’s a banana and a roasted chicken got in common? – –
you serve them both upside down – ok, think about it, a poor old chicken is always cooked and served upside down i.e- on its back and bananas grow up wards.
Why do we cook a chicken upside down, its more succulent roasted legs down!
Why do we automatically turn a banana upside down to carry, pass, eat or peel! – bananas, right! In fact, if you peel a banana the other way you avoid the stringy bits! So maybe we are going against nature.
Enough of that nonsense, let’s move on to sensible information.
Like – Top 10 Best Banana Dishes
- Bananas Foster– I’ve been making this for years and didn’t even know it was Foster, an American New Orleans classic of flambé bananas in butter, brown sugar and dark rum served with vanilla ice cream.
- Banana Bread– ok, it’s a cake.
- Banana Split– It even has its own dish, lengthwise split nanas filled with ice-cream, whipped cream & fruits with sauces and toppings.
- Banoffee Pie– It’s a biscuit based, toffee topped wonder with sliced bananas and whipped cream, but you knew that!
- Banana Ice-Cream– There’s a few recipes but simple mashed over ripe bananas make simple wholesome ice-cream.
- Bananas and Custard– yes, please.
- Banana Milk Shake– I make mine in a large jug – 2 ripe nanas, 1 heaped tablespoon Greek yogurt, 1 pint any milk and whizz it up with my stick blender.
- Banana, Maple Pancakesor Waffles – what better than lashings of maple syrup poured over sliced bananas on anything really! ‘The Waffle House’ do a mean Banana Waffle.
- My Chicken with Banana &Cumin – This is unbelievably good – 1 chicken breast pan-fried in a little oil, turn until ½ cooked – add 1 level teaspoon ground cumin, cook it out for a few sec’s, add 1 small sliced under-ripe banana and 300ml double cream – simmer gently until the cream has thickened and the chicken cooked through – trust me, its scrumptious.
- Banana Sandwich– I was brought up on them, around 300 calories, nutritious, tasty and filling.
Don’t Bin the Skin
Bananas have amazing healing properties – My chiropodist told me that to get rid of verruca’s you put a banana skin (inside up) on the spot overnight – it’s true I’ve googled it, more like a few nights though.
Do you know what else is amazing – skins are also good for teeth whitening, skin cream (calm skin, reduces rashes, inflammation and acne), sooths bites, reduces bruising, it even gets rid of eczema rubbed on a few times a day PLUS it can even get rid of Haemorrhoids – don’t use the same banana skin though!
They also act as a shoe polish. Great for the compost or place around roses to detract aphids.
Super power skins, why would you ever throw them away?
Bananas are picked green, transported in storage around 14*c (any colder the skins will turn grey) and are then ripened in special rooms with ethylene gas, causing the vivid yellow of the skin. Increasing shelf life by a week or so. If we refrigerate yellow bananas the skin will turn black, however the banana will remain fine.
It is said that a naturally ripened banana picked from the tree is superior in flavour.
Top 10 Interesting Banana Facts
- In the War, during rationing and limited imports we used to use mash parsnips and say it was banana (my nana told me that).
- Bananas are Botanically a berry. Growing on a plant which is officially a herb.
- Packed with Nutrition with high amounts of vitamin B6 & B12, magnesium, potassium, fibre and protein and they help you burn off more calories if eaten before exercise.
- Some people around the world eat the skins as well – my geese do too.
- Their scientific name translates to ‘Fruit of the Wise man’
- 100 billion bananas are eaten every year around the world, with 50% of all bananas eaten at breakfast.
- We share 50% of our DNA with bananas (and we are only 1 gene removed from a monkey).
- More songs are written about bananas than any other fruit – apparently! Can’t think of any.
- The banana split was invented in Pennsylvania in 1904.
- Bananas contain amino acid tryptophan plus vitamin B6 which helps your body produce serotonin, helping alleviate depression. I’ve also heard they help you sleep – maybe that’s why.
What more is there possibly to say about Bananas –
Well – –
How about this ‘The bananas we eat today are the ‘Cavandish’ variety which replaced the ‘Gros Michael’ which were wiped out in the 60’s by the ‘panama disease’.
That leads us on to types – there are over 1000 varieties, subdivided in to 50 groups. Like the sweet common old Cavandish to the savoury plantain. Heres a few of the more common sweet ones –
- Cavandish – as above but you can also get Dwarf and Grand varieties.
- Apple Bananas / Candy Apple Bananas – very diddy & very sweet, with firm and slightly pink flesh. It holds it colour longer than commercial varieties. Grown in the tropical rain forests of Hawaii.
- Lady Finger or sugar Bananas – Like Cavandish but smaller and sweeter. You’ll often find these in UK supermarkets in little kiddie bags for packed lunches.
- Pisang Raja or Musa Belle or crocodile finger Bananas – from Indonesia and great for fritters.
- Lakatan – from the Philippines and popular for dessert.
- Senorita Bananas – originally from the Philippines. Very sweet small and stumpy.
Lastly, banana fruits develop from a heart, they develop in to a large hanging cluster with up to 20 banana fruits to a tier, each tier is known as a hand. The cluster is known as a bunch consisting of 3 – 20 hands.
If 10 million tons of bananas are grown each year do you think more or less plantain are grown – – read on I’ll tell you!
India & China produce the most bananas and Uganda the most plantains with over thirty million tons eaten per annum.
They also use the plant as ornamental, for wine and for beer as well as utilising the fibre plus the leaves can be used to wrap food in cooking.
But having said that Bananas are the World’s most thrown away food.
If we could all commit to using them up and reducing our bananas waste by 75% – – we could save ‘Bananas’
I love bananas
By Zena Leech-Calton
Food writer and cookery tutor at