Elvis Presley loved to eat this fruit on his peanut butter sandwiches. Dancer Josephine Baker famously wore this fruit as a skirt in 1926. Alexander the Great relished this fruit from the moment he tasted it in 327 B.C. The Chinese appreciated and grew this exotic fruit in 200 B.C.
Roots of the banana are traced back to the Malayan jungles. As Asia Minor was being conquered, the banana was moved to Africa. Missionaries then brought banana plants with them when they explored the Caribbean.
4 large bananas
Peel bananas and slice into ½ inch pieces. Arrange banana slices in a single layer on a large plate or cookie sheet. Freeze at lease 1-2 hours. I like to freeze mine overnight.
**Remember it is very important to peel the bananas before freezing them. Frozen peels are a nightmare to get off.
Place the banana slices in a food processor or powerful blender. Puree banana, scraping down the bowl as needed. Puree until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
**The bananas will make a large hard ball that may cause you to think that it didn’t work. Don’t worry, after a few minutes the ball will even out and give the creamy texture.
Add strawberries, chocolate, peanut butter or anything else that you would like to create a deluxe frozen treat.
Bananas, as we recognize them today, were introduced to Americans at the 1876 World’s Fair in Philadelphia.
Although Banana Republic is now a brand of clothing, it was not always such a cool thing.
Banana Republics were countries where bananas were the main export, and those few who owned the plantations were able to control and support dictators.
One case in history is traced to the United Fruit Company, who had so much ability to influence laws and control transportation that the people called it “the octopus.”
The banana name is credited to Arabian slave traders.
Bananas used to be small, about the size of finger, and were called banan which is Arabic for finger.
When ten or more bananas are growing together they are called a hand. Each steam grows about fifteen hands.
Banana plants are not trees; they are one of the largest perennial herb plants. The banana is really a berry.
While there are about 1000 different types of banana plants, which when ripe can be red, pink or purple, we eat the yellow Cavendish variety.
The Cavendish banana took over as the main banana after a fungus wiped out the Gros Michel banana. The Cavendish bananas are virtually clones of the original Gros Michel. This makes our banana supply susceptible to being wiped out by disease.
Currently, there are not any other varieties that could easily and tastily replace the Cavendish if it were devastated.
The best tasting bananas are picked green and allowed to naturally ripen. Unfortunately, many banana growers use ethylene gas to accelerate the process. This is one reason I prefer organic bananas.
While the banana does have natural sugars it also contains other nutrients and zero fat. A six and half inch banana has 357 mg of potassium, 5 mg of calcium and only 89 calories. Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, fiber and magnesium.
Traditionally bananas have been used in the treatment of alcoholism, celiac disease, constipation, depression, diarrhea and hypertension. They have also been used to help treat diabetic insulin shock.
The gastrointestinal tract loves banana pectin which lowers cholesterol and normalizes bowel function. An unripe banana can constipate a person while an over ripe one can be used as a laxative.
The Archives of Internal Medicine show that bananas help prevent heart disease. The National Academy of Sciences has shown that high potassium, low sodium diets may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. The International Journal of Cancer has indicated that bananas can help protect against kidney disease.
The best way to eat a banana is to peel and enjoy it raw. They are also good in smoothies and can be used in puddings, pies and fruits salads.
*Interesting tip: when eating a banana, enjoy them like the monkeys do and peel them from the bottom. This not only makes it easier to peel, you don’t have to deal with the banana strings.