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Banana belongs to the genus Musa and has been give the botanical name Musa Cavendishii. The plant, though referred to as a "tree" is really a giant herb, whose stem is composed of the overlapping bases of leave above. It can attain a height of 10 to 40 feet when fully grown. The non-woody banana stalk develops a flowering stem and seven to nine buds that each sustain one cluster (hand) of 10-20 bananas (fingers). The stalks are cut after producing the fruit and new stems grow from buds in the rootstock.  

The banana is an elongated, curved , tropical fruit with smooth outer skin that peel off easily when the fruit is ripe.  Bananas are harvested while still green but may be ripened under controlled conditions before being delivered to the market. Yellow bananas are fully ripe when the skin has small flecks of brown. The flesh of the ripe banana has a distinct creamy texture and sweet fragrance.   
  • Nutritional Value
Fair source of vitamin A and vitamin C, some calcium, iron, potassium and thiamine.  Low in sodium and fat. Easy to digest when ripe.  
  • Buying and Storage
Select those plump, firm, bright in appearance and free from blemishes. The stage of ripeness is indicated by the color of the skin. The flesh is mellow and flavor fully developed when the banana has a solid yellow color and flecked with brown. 

Do not buy bananas that are split, bruised or have badly discolored skin.  

Ripen bananas at room temperature. Ripening of green bananas can be hastened by putting the fruit into a paper bag.
  • Prepare, Use and Serve
Peel only when ready to use, leave whole or slice in half lengthwise, cut into rounds or large chunks or mash.  The method depends upon their use.  To prevent darkening, brush with lemon juice or cover with an acid fruit juice. 

The culinary uses of the banana are numerous and each country has its own interesting variations. 
  • Bananas can be made into puddings, tarts, cakes, combined with meat and fish and are delicious with other fruits.  
  • Bananas make great ice-cream and goes well with hot spices and curries, rum, coconut and yoghurt.  Banana slices should be dipped into dilute lemon juice to prevent browning or discoloring. 

In the tropics banana leaves are used for serving food and for wrapping food or storage or transport.  The stems of the banana trees are chopped up and used to feed livestock and even the flowers are eaten, cooked in coconut milk and served as a side dish.



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