Thursday, May 15, 2008

Banana flower

This is where bananas come from - a tree. Don't laugh some kids in a class I once had in Australia didn't know!!!!

Bananas are a good source of carbohydrate and PNG has the world's second highest per capita consumption of bananas. Banana trees are almost as prolific here in ENB as the coconut palm. Everyone seems to have them in their garden. Buying bananas in the market is very confusing, as there are so many unfamiliar varieties. I didn't buy a banana for months until someone I knew helped me tell the difference between the eating varieties and the plantains that are the cooking varieties.

Hanging underneath this bunch is a banana flower, which are eaten in PNG.

The rounded spike is the male part of the flower and to use it you need to cut away the red petals and use the firm inner part. They are usually eaten raw and can be prepared in the "Philippine way", (I have posted a recipe on the comments page if anyone is interested).

You can also make wine from bananas but unless I was stuck on a desert island I can't imagine
I would ever be in such a desperate state of alcohol deprivation to warrant the effort. However if you are ever going on a long sea voyage in a small boat you may want to ring me before you leave.

Not able to post today as I had my usual phone line troubles. It seems better tonight so here's hoping!!!


Jules said...

This is the recipe for Banana flower if anyone is interested or game enough!!!

Ψ Preparing Banana Flower

Pick a banana flower and slice through like an onion.
Rub well with fine salt and leave to stand for 2 or 3 hours, then wash thoroughly in a colander under running water.
Place in saucepan. Cover well with cold water.
Bring to boil and simmer 10 min.
Drain and put in sealed container in refrigerator. Keeps for over a week.

Ψ Philippine Banana Flower

2 rashers bacon
5 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
3 cups banana flower (prepared as above)
½ cup vegetable water
1 small tin button mushrooms
3 tomatoes

Cook diced bacon and crushed garlic gently until moisture is out of bacon - do not burn
Remove from saucepan, add onion and brown slightly
Add chopped tomatoes, vegetable water, and chopped mushrooms with
Return bacon and garlic to mixture with prepared banana flower
Season to taste with salt and pepper and lemon juice
Simmer for 5 min and thicken with a little cornflour

Marlow Traore said...

i like bananas and on sunday i will taste your recipe, thank you

Profile Not Available said...

This was fascinating reading! I have never seen a banana flower before, they are so unusual and quite beautiful! When I think of edible flowers, my experience is limited to sugary garnishes. It is interesting that the fruit is sweet, but the preparation for the flower renders it more savory. I think that is the proper term.

Tom said...

Hi Jules.. I loved this post but I'll skip the recipe.. one thing I suddenly realised today... and it made me shiver.. Banana/Spider I have a thing for spiders.. you must get some weird and wonderful ones there.. When I say I have a thing for spiders.. I mean I cry like a little girl and shout for Jane to remove it. :O)

MmeBenaut said...

Gosh, I had no idea that one could eat the flower! I can't imagine the taste although the recipe certainly looks interesting. It must be nice to go through all that preparation.

Jules said...

Hi All - I've never made it I must confess but after doing the post I have decided to have a go on the weekend and photograph the saga!!!!

Thérèse said...

In Folsom CA we had neighbors with a banana tree but they had fruits only every three years! Is it the same at your place? I never checked on that.

Chuckeroon said...

..I am really looking forward to the "reportage".

M.Benaut said...

Good on you for the weekend cook-up.

I hope you tell us how it went, - with pictures, preferably.
Also, save some for Lynn. Anything with bananas in it is just so scrumptious and healthy.

We always had banana trees in Adelaide and used to place a plastic bag over the bunches to get the glass-house-effect. They would always ripen unless the summer was really cool.

BTW. Did you know that the sap of a banana tree trunk is a fabulous solvent. It will dissolve many difficult substances including the gum that oozes from pine trees. Nothing else will do that.

Hows that for useless info !!

Donna said...

I second that on the wine making!lol...but I'll bet that flower is pretty if it were to bloom...happy day sweetie & be safe!!hughugs

photowannabe said...

I didn't know one could eat the flower. The recipie actually sounds good but I will probably pass on preparing it.
Can't wait to see your photographic saga as you prepare. Happy cooking.

Kerry-Anne said...

I can't work out why I have this sudden uncontrollable craving for bananas. Odd. (And not a single one in the house either, so a craving it will have to stay!) I haven't ever made banana wine, but I did once make banana liqueur - it wasn't a huge hit, which is why I only did it once... ;-)

Now if only I could get my hands on a banana flower, I'd give your recipe a try; because I have to say, it sounds pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Tom mentioned spiders. I remember when I was a kid that the grocery store used to get stalks of bananas in now and then and the spiders was one thing everyone looked for and found on the stalks. I have no idea where they came from but they were not like the spiders we had.

This is a nice post and a nice lesson about uses for the banana.

Anonymous said...

Nice recipes!

Rose said...

I think I need to bookmark your sight! I see a lot I like here, including this photo and the info with it.

LiseH said...

I'm going to bed soon, but suddenly I feel so hungry...

Jules said...

Gosh now I have to find a banana flower and do this recipe for you!!!!

Willow said...

MMmmmm! There's nothing like tree ripened bananas. My kids refused to eat bananas for YEARS after we left Papua for the US.

Jilly said...

Lovely photo. I used to have bananas in the garden in Cairns. A very small, thin skinned banana - one that wouldn't travel - so delicious. Not had one since I left Oz. I can taste it now, looking at your photo, Jules.

Jules said...

Willow -were they sick of them? Or weren't the US ones as nice????

Jilly - no bananas I have tasted out of this place taste as good!!!

Hilda said...

Here in the Philippines, we call the banana flower "puso ng saging." Literally, it means "heart of the banana," and it's commonly used as a vegetable. Much like artichokes, really.

A banana isn't really a tree, by the way. No woody trunk.

Anonymous said...

a banana is not a tree! It is an herb..note stalk, not trunk, etc..interesting bit we found out ourselves....