Bananas are the fruit of the banana tree, which is in fact a plant and not a tree, however due to its size and appearance it is commonly mistaken for a tree. Wild bananas that grow on these plants have large and many seeds inside them, this makes eating the wild variety somewhat of a chore. Luckily, bananas that have been cultivated for eating have their seeds shrunk to almost nonexistence.
People in Western countries do not rely on bananas for food, rather they consume them for their taste and health benefits as fruit, these health benefits include a source of potassium, which most people already know, vitamin C and manganese . People in developing countries where they grow, use them as an important source of their food.
What many may not realise is that bananas can come in a variety of colours other than the supermarket yellow. They are also available in red, green and purple.
This is the most common and well known variety of banana available in shops and supermarkets.
Yellow ones are in fact green bananas but are ripened artificially and develop this yellow colour during the ripening. Green varieties will develop naturally without ever turning that bright yellow colour.
Not a common supermarket variety but available nonetheless. This banana has reddish skin with a lighter pinkish colour flesh inside. Smaller than the yellow bananas, they are also sweeter to eat. Much are produced and grown in Asia and South America where they are eaten far more commonly than in Europe or North America.
Similar to yellow bananas, red ones will ripen quickly at room temperature and spoil fast in sunlight or when left out for too long.
Interesting facts about bananas:
- Although the bunch grows from the plant hanging down, the points grow upwards and not downwards as their shape would have you believe
- The fruit, peel and the core of the plants trunk can be eaten also
- In the industry the bunch can also be referred to as a hand
- The peel facing downwards does in fact cause accidents when stood upon.
- During the ripening process the starch converts into sugar giving off a sweeter taste than the un ripened ones.
- The potassium content makes them slightly radioactive
- Commercially sold bananas originate from the one plant. Should a disease affect crops it is possible they could be wiped out. This happened to the Gros Michel bananas in the 1900s due to a fungus.
- Behind wheat, rice and corn, bananas are the largest agricultural product in the world