Banana

Banana

Plural:
Bananas
Family:
Musaceae – Banana family
Species:
Musa paradisiaca

Origin

The prototype of the banana we consume originated from two wild species: Musa accuminata from the humid-hot Malayan archipelago with relatively large amount flesh and little seeds and the robust Musa balbisiana from the area surrounding India, the Philippines and New Guinea. Both species were presumably already cross bred about 10,000 years ago. Since that time the plant has spread partly independently and partly by sailors and merchants from the east and west: At the beginning of 16th century, the Portuguese imported them to the Canary Islands. The New World banana presumably only reached us after Christopher Columbus brought the shrubs back in 1516 from Haiti. The first imports to Austria only date back to about 100 years ago.

Plant

Bananas are the biggest herbs on the earth: mighty shrubs which can grow up to 15 m hight in the wild, and in plantations they grow between 6 m and 9 m high.

Cultivation

There are banana plantations in all tropical regions; the small-sized banana Dwarf Cavendish (Canary banana, Chinese banana) also grows outside of the tropics. The main countries that cultivate the banana are Brazil, India, the Philippines, Ecuador, Mexico and Thailand.

Supply

For many years, there are a lot of big banana's on the market. Nevertheless, they aren't traded under the name of their type , but under the names of the fruit trade groups (Chiquita, Dole, Bonita).

Importations

Big bananas arrive all the year round from Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Honduras, Guatemala and Panama. Other varieties are available irregularly and are defeated by price fluctuations.

Fruit

Edible:
flesh.
Inedible:
peel.
Size:
They grow from finger length to about 30 cm.
Shape:
They are bent or straight; they can appear long and slender with a spiky end to thick and blunt.
Peel:
green, yellow to reddish.
Flesh:
They are cream-coloured to yellow and red.
Ripe fruits:
The peel is yellow and when they reach full maturity they become brownish-yellow with small brown spots.
Overripe fruits:
The peel has brown spots or is discoloured to a brown colour; the flesh has a light alcoholic taste.
Unripe fruits:
They are hard and green; the flesh is harsh and bitter.

Usage

Banana's may be eaten raw, roasted, baked and boiled down to make jam or chutney.

Storage

Ripe fruits should be stored at room temperature. If they are put in the fridge they will lose their flavour and become blotchy.They post-mature at room temperature.