Bananas are Big Business!
Think bananas are small business? According to Wikipedia, “In 2013 bananas were fourth among the main world food crops (after rice, wheat and maize) in financial value.” This means one thing, bananas are really big business! Do you know what kind of bananas you buy at the store?
Fun Historical Fact: Did you know the Imperial Japanese government used banana banknotes briefly during World War II? The monies were not actually made of bananas. It was known as "banana money" due to the banana herb motif that appeared on the ten dollar notes, and the nickname was not well liked.
Many people love to eat bananas, but don’t really know a lot about them. Bananas are a great addition to your diet, they are inexpensive, and most kids seem to love them! They travel fairly well, and make a great snack. The best part is, you don’t even have to cook them, and they require no extra tools to eat them!
What's your banana's name?
The most common bananas that you will typically find, and consume in an American supermarket are the Cavendish variety. You can find other varieties, this is just the most commonly consumed in America.
Bananas are removed from the plant when green, and very firm. Bananas must be cut from the plant while they are still green; this aids in the ripening process. If the bananas were to be left on the plant, they would eventually split open and dry out. Let’s take a look at a few unknown banana facts, how much do you know about bananas? Then we will find out how to store, and freeze them for optimal use!
Fun Banana Facts
- Did you know the herbaceous banana plant has flowers? Not only are the flowers of the banana herb strikingly beautiful, they just so happen to be edible as well. Though they are not a common staple in the American diet, the peoples of India consume them quite regularly. This fact should not come as a surprise since India is the leading exporter of bananas, with Brazil following in a close second. Oddly enough I was under the impression that Hawaii was the big banana producer, guess not!
- Most people think that bananas come from trees; the fact is, the banana plant is actually an herb stemming from the plant (genus) Musa. The banana herb produces only one bunch of bananas, and then it proceeds to die. In order for banana herbs to continue producing more bananas, it shoots an “eye” before it dies. An eye of the banana herb is just a baby plant. The banana herb continues on this cycle for roughly ten years, at which point the original organism dies.
- Bananas are at risk of becoming extinct, especially the Cavendish variety that we are accustomed to finding and using every day in our supermarkets. Cavendish bananas are highly susceptible to extinction. All you need is one nasty crop pilfering organism to attack banana crops, and the Cavendish would be extinct. There have been other banana varieties in the past that have died out, so don’t think it can’t happen.
- The bright yellow color of bananas is eye-catching to say the least; but, did you know bananas are the sweetest, ripest, and most flavorful when they are brown? This makes ripe bananas the perfect option for a banana smoothie drink, rather than a yellow one. So grab your brown bananas, milk, and ice!
Banana Storage Tips
Rule number one when it comes to bananas; bananas are loners! It may be aesthetically pleasing to place all of your fruit in one basket, or bowl. However, bananas should really be stored alone.
Bananas have a bit of a tendency to get gassy; and for this reason you should store them by themselves. Bananas emit a natural gas called ethylene. Ethylene will cause the other fruit to ripen at a much faster rate.
So, while those fruit may look stunning as an arrangement in your pretty little bowl, be prepared to use them quickly if you store your fruit together! It’s best to just hang them up on a banana tree.
Freezing bananas is a pretty simple process. If your bananas start to look a little less than appealing, try freezing them, rather than throwing them away. As you learned earlier on in this article, bananas are best when they are brown. Grab a freezer bag, place your overripe bananas in the bag and smash them up, seal the bag, and freeze for up to several months. Frozen bananas are an excellent addition to smoothies, breads, yogurts, etc.
Do not freeze green bananas; your bananas should be ripe or overripe when attempting to freeze them. Once you freeze a banana, you stop the ripening process. What this means is this, if you freeze the banana when it’s firm and green; it will taste firm and green when you unthaw it, and try to use it. So I guess if you will be deep frying them, you could technically freeze a green banana if you wanted to. I wouldn’t recommend it though.
Bananas are healthy, inexpensive, and can be frozen for future use. Thinking of adding more bananas to your diet; try some banana recipes here!