is the most popular fresh fruit in all over the world and its name comes from the Arabic word 'banan', which means finger. Bananas are rich source carbohydrates
. They are the first choice by athletics due to its high energy giving capability.
Varieties: They come in colors say, green, yellow, purple and red. Most of the varieties are perennial (grown throughout the year). They are native to tropical southeast asis, but now are grown almost in all places. They are known as either "Dessert" bananas (when fully ripe) or cooking bananas.
Banana plant can be found very easily in one's yard or gardens as they are very easy to cultivate and it is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. It can grow up to 20 to 24.9 ft tall and its leaves can grow up to 8.9 ft long and 2.0 ft wide.
Single Banana of average 125 grams has about 75% of water and 25% of waterless substance. It has protective external layer called peel or skin and many threads around between the peel and internal layer. Its seed is like tiny black specks present in the interior portion of the fruit.
Unripened Banana can be cook as potatoes. It Can be fried, boiled, chipped and has similar taste. The banana and potato has same calories.
Bananas which are firm, bright in appearance, and free from bruises or other injury. The state of ripeness is indicated by skin color. Best eating quality has been reached when the solid yellow color is specked with brown. At this stage, the flesh is mellow and the flavor is fully developed. Bananas with green tips or with practically no yellow color have not developed their full flavor potential.
Culinary Uses of Banana
Though banana is mainly known for its fruit as a culinary ingredient its trunk, leaves and flower are also used for cooking purposes. The fruit is used in making various sweet and savory dishes such as cakes, fruit salads, dips, desserts and baked dishes. People in tropical regions eat banana as the staple starch. The taste of banana varies from starchy to sweet and texture may be either firm or mushy. The preparation of banana dishes depends upon its taste and texture. Sweet banana is used in making desserts and other sweet dishes while firm and starchy banana is used to make chips, cutlets and curry dishes. Banana pulp is also widely used for preparing banana dishes. Deep-fried banana is a very popular dessert in South East Asia. Banana jams, pancakes and dried banana flour are also some of the popular banana recipes throughout the world. Banana flower and trunk are also widely used in South East Asian cuisine while making dips, soups and curries. Many dishes are cooked wrapped in banana leaves and it provides a subtle and sweet taste to the dish. Leaves also protect the food from burning.
Cuisines Commonly Making Banana Dishes
Bananas are largely used by the South Asian cuisine. Both, sweet banana or plantain is used in making various banana dishes in the cuisine of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Deep-fried banana in batter is a very popular dish in the cuisine. Mashed plantains are used in making dips, jams and sauces. In the Burmese cuisine a very popular dish called ‘Mohinga’ is made with the tender core of the trunk of banana plant. Indian cuisine is also not far behind in using banana while cooking. Due to starchy and firm texture, boiled and mashed plantains are widely used to make kebabs and cutlets. South Indian dishes mainly consist of plantains. European and American cuisines also use sweet banana in making various desserts such as banana pudding, banana fritters and banana pancake.
Health benefits of Banana:
1. Bananas are a caloric dense fruit. Consumption of just one banana anytime through the day makes one feel energetic.
2. Banana is a food most appropriate when small but nutrient dense food has to be given in situations of extreme weight loss or extreme fever where the body becomes weak and there is food aversion.
3. They are a good source of potassium and magnesium which aid in maintaining normal blood pressure and are heart protective.
4. The high potassium content promotes bone health too.
5. Banana help counteract the urinary calcium loss caused due to increase ion potassium levels in the urine.
6. Bananas have an antacid effect and are said to protect against stomach ulcers. They contain a compound called as protease inhibitor which protects the stomach from unfriendly bacteria which cause stomach or gastrointestinal disturbances.
7. Bananas are also known to stimulate cell proliferation which thickens the stomach mucosa and is a barrier against stomach acids.
8. Conditions like diarrhea can easily dehydrate the body and deplete the electrolytes. Consumption of banana helps to restore the lost potassium and helps maintain heart function.
9. Bananas are rich in the soluble fibre pectin. Thereby it assists healthy digestion and eases out constipation.
10. They are a rich source of fructooligosaccharides which act as a prebiotic and stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestine. They protect us from harmful bacteria that cause gastric disturbances.
11. Fructooligosaccharides also produce digestive enzymes which improve the ability to absorb nutrients.
12. Bananas contain short chain fatty acids which are essentially needed by the cells lining the intestinal tract to stay healthy. This further improves the nutrient absorption.
13. They are a good source of carotenoids which are antioxidants and have a protective effect against chronic disease condition. They also have a high content of antioxidant phenolic compounds.
14. Banana is known to render a soothing effect. It has a compound called as tryptophan which on getting converted to serotonin improves mood.
15. It is one of the ideal foods to be eaten immediately after a strenuous workout too. The simple sugars present in them quickly provide energy and normalize the blood sugar levels.
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