A few banana talks – Some interesting facts
When men started farming before 1000 years, they started plantain cultivation too. Plantain and banana were born in south-east Asia. But it is widely cultivated in tropical regions like India. Humidity and less elevation from sea level are those factors that influence plantain cultivation a lot. Obviously India stands first in banana cultivation.
I doubt if at least a single person exists in this world, who has never eaten banana at least once. Though black seeds are present inside bananas, they are not used to reproduce new plants. Except in a few varieties, we can eat bananas without removing seeds. New plants are born from root and they can be planted separately to produce new plants.
Plantain – Belonging to Mumbesi family was derived from musa acuminate. Musa paradisiaca is its scientific name. Literally it means ‘Tree of heaven’. Obviously all parts of plantain are edible.
For food, medicine and decorations
For Asians and Africans, banana serves as a meal one time. But for many rich countries, banana is a strange object. It is used for decorating commercial buildings and luxurious homes.
Banana is very nutritious and it contains vitamin A, B6 and C. Africans eat 300 kg banana every year while its average consumption is below 50 kg in the case of Indians. In south India, banana is served along with meals as it increases digestion. Core of banana stem has the power to cure ulcers; it cleans your digestive track too. Banana inflorescence (flowers) if included in diet blocks excess loss of water through urine. Raw banana is dried, powdered and made porridge for infants. It is an effective medicine for dysentery and covers malnutrition too. If you eat powdered Cavendish banana continuously for days, it can effectively cure ulcers. Charcoal prepared by burning plantain stem and leaves has medicinal value. Alcohol content is nil in bananas.
Banana Snacks – Different types
Banana and banana snacks form an integral part of south Indian cuisine. For Keralities, the lengthy Kerala banana called ‘Nentrapazham’ or ‘Ethapazham’ is used to prepare a wide range of curries, sweets and snacks, and they are used both raw and ripen. Banana chips, upperi prepared using jaggery and raw banana and baji, sweet or salty – the list is long. It is used for making many types of snacks, sweets and juices. Banana chips and sharkara upperi cannot be avoided from a traditional Kerala meal served on green plantain leaves. Also read: Common snacks of Keralities.
A few banana facts before I conclude
1. In terms of surface area, banana is cultivated most in Maharastra. Second place goes to Kerala.
2. In production, Gujarat stands first and Tamil Nadu stands second.
3. After mango, the most cultivated fruit of India is banana.
4. India stands first in banana production all over the world.
5. Wide varieties of banana are cultivated across south India comparing north, and there are more than 10-20 commonly available banana varieties in local shops of south India.
6. Several bananas and hybrid varieties locally available, which differ in taste, texture and colour may not be available in other parts of the country.
7. Banana is also known as ‘nature’s tonic’.
To read about the relationship between Keralites and banana and to know about the auspicious occasions for which plantain is used, read the article: Banana and Keralites share a great relationship.
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