Going Bananas Over Bananas

Amazing how every part of this plant is super useful

Image by Beat Roth from Pixabay

The banana is one of nature’s awesomest creations. Think about it. It is food that is easily portable, hygienically packaged, needs no cutlery to be eaten, leaves no mess behind after being eaten, the packaging is biodegradable, well, you get the drift. And not to mention all the health benefits of eating a banana.

The only problem people grapple with when it comes to the banana is this — when do they stop writing ‘na’.

Is it banana or is it bananana, or, you know, how many ‘na’s make a banana?

Every part of the bananana is useful. Most people know only about the fruit. But the stem, leaf, and flower have their own fan following too.

The Fruit — The Life Saver

Variety: An innocent Internet search revealed that there are anywhere between 10 to 1000 varieties of bananas depending on who is writing the article. I suppose we can safely conclude that there is a mind-numbing variety of bananas out there.

Color: If you thought all bananas are yellow, you will be surprised to know that there are bananas in green, shades of yellow, yellow-brown, brown, red, and the strangest of them all, blue bananas!

Hey, now, don’t judge a banana by its color.

Health: Eating a banana a day is probably as good as eating an apple. I don’t know about keeping doctors at bay. Bananas are high on potassium, high on fiber, and help cut belly fat. With so much goodness packed inside one little fruit, if handsome doctors come our way, I’d rather not keep them away. What say?

Fast food: Bananas are also the best kind of snack-on-the-go. Keep one handy for those low on sugar moments during the day. Resist the urge to reach for a bar of sinful chocolate or sugar-dripping pastries. Eat a banana instead. Tasty, healthy, filling. Don’t say no to bananananana.

Raw vs Ripe

By the way, the blessed banana lends itself to eating in both raw and ripe formats. Obviously, anyone can simply peel and devour a ripe banana whenever they feel like it.

But the raw banana is in a league of its own. Raw banana fry, raw banana curry, and the masterstroke — raw banana chips! Traditionally fried in coconut oil in God’s own country, Kerala, raw banana chips are an addiction. You simply cannot stop after eating one. You start, and watch the whole pack disappear as if by magic!

Image by pucho from Pixabay

Banana Flower — Purple-Brown and Beautiful

Image by Junior Peres Junior from Pixabay

Just like the fruit, the banana flower is edible both raw and ripe. It is typically used in salads, soups, and curries, and tastes like a cousin of the artichoke.

Banana flowers are rich in vitamin C, protein, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium. Heck! I am wondering why I am not already replacing all my meals with banana flower dishes. I will be healthy and full of all essential nutrients!

Have access to this amazing banana flower? Look up banana flower recipes. Tons of them, one looking tastier than the other.

Banana Stem — Another Wonder Vegetable

If you thought the fruits and flower seem all-powerful, you are missing the stem.

I can personally vouch for the tastiness of the stem. Made banana stem curry yesterday, and it was super tasty.

Picture by Anu Anniah

Banana stem curry:
– Peel off a few layers until you get to the core.
– Chop it into thin circles.
– Remove the tendrils of fiber that appear all over.
– Chop into fine pieces.
– Steam.
– Temper with a little oil, asafoetida, salt, mustard, green chillies, curry leaves, grated fresh coconut, and other spices as you see fit.

Tasty and healthy banana stem curry at your service! Eat with Indian bread (roti) or hot rice.

Benefits? The list is endless. Banana stem juice is good for detoxing. The stem helps in weight loss, controlling cholesterol, digestion, regulating blood pressure and so much more.

I am beginning to think that I should buy a banana farm and live a good life eating various parts of the banana. They seem to contain everything that the nutrition pyramid recommends for a balanced life.

Banana Leaf — A Healthy Biodegradable Plate for Eating

Now that I am going to own a banana farm, I don’t need to worry about owning any plates or washing them.

The banana leaf is the world’s healthiest and smartest plate to eat on.

Photo by Anu Anniah
  • Banana leaves cannot be reused. So there is no chance of contamination.
  • They impart extra flavor to the hot food. Add more zing to already tasty food.
  • They are large, and can hold a wide variety of dishes that you can gorge on.
  • Banana leaves have anti-bacterial properties that can kill germs in the food.
  • You have to eat with your hands. Fancy forks and spoons may not really work with the banana leaf. Result — you will enjoy the meal better. Finger-licking good.
  • Used leaves can be discarded into your composting pit, or fed to the local cows. Either way, highly biodegradable. No guilt of adding to the carbon footprint. And…most importantly, you can throw a lavish party and there will be no dishes to wash — no plates, no cutlery!

The Slippery Banana Peel

Hah! Keep throwing away the peel, don’t you? Don’t!

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Here are a few uses of the peel:

  • Use it to polish silverware and leather
  • Wipe down dull looking leaves on your plants to give them a healthy shine. A little banana love.
  • Add to your composting pit to create banana-flavored compost. The plants will love the flavorful compost!
  • Wipe on your face to help reduce acne and dark spots
  • And my favorite. Throw it on the ground when you see the obnoxious neighbor coming by. Skid. Thud.

Bananas For Inedible Purposes

As if all part-wise uses is not enough to elevate the status of the humble banana, it is also used widely in the world of business.

One of my favorite banana references is this delightful movie from the last century — Herbie Goes Bananas. If that’s not a cute ode to the dear banana, what else is?

How about famous clothing brands that felt the need to name themselves after this golden fruit?

Not to forget all the cosmetic companies that load their creams and lotions with the healthy banana. Some of those creams smell so good that I have to resist the urge to eat spoonsful of the stuff.

Face and hair mask — can vouch for this. The teen at home tried the hair mask recently. She swears that her hair is much softer. I think she has gone bananas!

Small wonder then that our favorite Minions also love bananas!!!!

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

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