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“Yes, we have bananas”

By: Bruno Amorim

Carmen Miranda in "The gang

Carmen Miranda in "The gang's all here".

Who does not like bananas? We are not talking about Bananas in Pajamas, we mean that tasty and soft fruit your mom brings home once in a while. After all, there is a Brazilian song that says bananas will make you strong and grow you tall. So, if you want to grow strong and be healthy, you better eat a lot of bananas.

Rhizome, the underground stem

Have you ever seen a banana tree? The tree where bananas grow is all over Brazil. But we cannot see the whole of it. The banana tree has an underground, hidden, trunk. What seems to be the trunk of the tree is, in fact, a fake stem - a pseudostem - that is formed by its leaves.

The true stem - or rhizome - is underground. Pseudostems grow from rhizomes, and, every time the banana tree bears fruits, the old one die so that a new one can grow. If we take out part of the rhizome (with roots) and replant it, we will have a new tree.

 Photo: Steve Hopson/Wikipedia 

Photo: Steve Hopson/Wikipedia 

Nutrition

Banana stalks are made of bunches of around 20 bananas. Bananas are a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium and fibers. A single banana has a third of our daily potassium needs. Since this nutrient relieves muscle cramps, which often happen during the practice of sports, it is the muse of sportspeople.

Besides eating it fresh, bananas can be used in the preparation of many dishes. They can be dried like raisins, fried into chips or made into nutritious flours. Besides that, preserves, cakes, pies and all kinds of sweets can be made with this versatile fruit. And it can also be used in savory dishes, such as with toasted manioc flour and in fish stews.

Ripening

As they ripen, bananas become yellow. Before that, they are green. If you have a banana tree in your back yard or in a ranch, wait until they are yellow to pick them. They are not good to eat if they are still green. When they are green, they can only be eaten if they are cooked or fried.

When planted commercially, they should be picked green, because they will still be transported and stocked. They will ripen at the warehouse or at the supermarket, where banana-lovers buy them. If you also like them, make sure you ask your mom to bring you a bunch.

See also:

Bananas of all kinds

The history of bananas

 Links:

Genoma da banana

Carmen Miranda (official site)

Carmen Miranda (vídeo)

Source:

Velois, Afonso Celso Candeira. Banana - um santo remédio e alimento funcional.

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