Go Bananas


The banana is an elongated, curved, tropical fruit with a smooth outer skin that peels off easily when the fruit is ripe. Bananas are harvested while still green, but they may be ripened under controlled conditions before being delivered to the grocery store. Yellow bananas are fully ripe when the skin has small flecks of brown. The flesh of the ripe banana has a distinct creamy texture and sweet fragrance.

Bananas originated in Malaysia about 4,000 years ago; they were not introduced to the Americas until the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876. Today, the banana is the leading fresh fruit sold in the United States and the second leading fruit crop in the world. The United States grows about 4,000 tons of bananas annually and imports a total of 1.6 million tons annually from South America. India is the largest banana grower, in the world, followed by Africa, where bananas are mostly kept for local use.

A banana tree is technically not a tree, but rather a tree-like herb that belongs to the grass family. It can attain a height of 10-40 feet when fully grown. The banana is actually a berry too that has been cultivated to have no seeds. The non-woody banana stalk develops a flowering stem and seven to nine buds that sustain one cluster [hand] each of 10-20 bananas [fingers]. The stalks are cut after producing the fruit, and new stems grow from buds in the rootstock.


  • Bananas are a ‘go-to’ fruit in America and several, or most, parts of the world
  • Bananas are mood-enhancers; they contain the amino acid, tryptophan, and pyridoxine [vitamin B6] that help produce serotonin, the ‘good’ mood chemical
  • Bananas can help lower blood pressure and protect the heart, thanks to its high potassium and low salt content
  • The inside of a banana peel can help ease itching, warts, and inflammation, such as from bug, or mosquito bite
  • Bananas are great pre-workout snack, because they are loaded with potassium which helps to maintaining nerve and muscle function during workouts. It’s a favourite of tennis players, and stars, especially at Wimbledon
  • Think of genetics. The genetic similarity between a human being and a banana is 60 per cent
  • Banana is akin to probiotics; eating bananas increases the ‘good’ bifidobacteria in our gut.

Things To Do

Ripening of green bananas is hastened by putting the fruit into a paper bag. Ripe bananas can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks; although the skin turns dark brown, the fruit remains edible.

Unripe bananas should not be refrigerated. Bananas become sweeter as they ripen [as most of the starch converts to sugar]. They are most often consumed raw, or in desserts, such as puddings, pies, and sweet breads.

Banana slices should be dipped into acidulated water [dilute lemon juice] to prevent browning. Puréed banana can be added to pancake batter.

Nutrient Composition 

Bananas are rich in pyridoxine [vitamin B6]; they are also a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and fibre. Red bananas are a good source of vitamin A. — With additional inputs from the ‘Net & other sources.


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