The banana evokes the taste of sunshine with its delicious, sweet, unparalleled flavor, which quickly becomes a favorite food for babies. It is the fourth most important crop in the world, following rice, wheat, and corn. There are nearly 1000 varieties of bananas worldwide. It is a herbaceous plant that typically grows in the tropics, often with a stout trunk, and its fruit – which is actually a berry – is consumed globally.
Why is the banana curved?
The fruit of the banana is curved because small bananas – which are initially straight – develop towards the ground but strive to turn towards the sun, causing them to curve.
Bananas are extremely fast-growing plants. During its growth, its trunk forms from concentric rings of leaf sheaths. Throughout the life of a banana plant, it can grow up to 40 sets of leaf sheaths. Depending on the variety, it takes 80-180 days from flowering to harvest.
Where does the banana come from?
Around 8000 BCE, bananas were first domesticated in the area of New Guinea. Subsequently, cultivation spread throughout Southeast Asia and a significant part of the Pacific Islands. However, it wasn’t until the 11th century that bananas made a breakthrough in Europe when they appeared in Moorish-controlled Spain and then spread further across the continent.
Today, the largest banana plantations are found in the Middle East and South America, mainly in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, and Panama. Where the countries’ main income comes from banana exports. Ecuador is the world leader in banana exports. The ideal average temperature for bananas is 26.7°C, and the average monthly rainfall is 100 mm. The minimum and maximum daily temperatures range from 22°C to 32°C, although this can vary depending on the variety. There are also frost-resistant bananas. In the natural habitat of bananas, the dry season typically does not last longer than 3 months under normal circumstances.
Buying and storing bananas
Any undamaged, spotless specimen can be purchased, even if the fruit appears green and unripe. However, it is advisable to buy bananas with spotless skin.
Bananas with dull, grayish skin have been excessively chilled, and it is recommended to avoid them. It is possible that they may rot before ripening in the kitchen container. Unripe bananas should not be put in the refrigerator since they ripen at room temperature, and the cold hinders the ripening process. However, refrigeration is an ideal solution for storing ripe bananas.
To quickly ripen green, unripe bananas, you can place them together with an apple or tomato in a paper or plastic bag and leave them on the kitchen counter.
The beneficial effects of bananas apply to the body internally, but also externally in terms of hair and skincare. The effects can be felt with just one banana consumed daily. However, it is not advisable to exceed this quantity as bananas are relatively high in calories and sugar content. Nevertheless, they can be incorporated into a weight loss diet, and there is even a banana diet. The use of bananas is truly versatile, although banana smoothies and banana dessert recipes are particularly popular. However, banana jam and even banana brandy exist.
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