Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall is time for..... Bananas?!

     We live far enough south to grow bananas.... when the weather cooperates. They are grown more as a "novelty" around here, if anyone would consider a banana a novelty. I do not know of any actual farms that grow them large scale. Our last winter was very mild, so the bananas have done really well. Ours are the sweet banana trees, as opposed to the mealier plantain variety. Surprisingly enough, 80% of the bananas grown in the world are of the plantain variety. They are a major staple crop for many countries and are used much like a potato.

      Banana trees require hot (check), tropical (check), ridiculous (check) environments to really thrive. They do not like the cold, and freezing can devastate them. Oddly, bananas are considered to be perennial herbs. They have beautiful deep purple buds and beautiful yellow flowers within.  Banana trees can grow to huge heights! Some reach 40 feet.  See the person standing underneath our banana tree? The fruit grows on a large, non woody stem. The stems are really cool looking. The fruit starts to ripen once the stem is cut. Many times, the bananas get too heavy for the stem to support, and the stem breaks, beginning the ripening process.
        All of these pictures are of the banana trees on Old Brodbeck Farm. They grow taller every year and are easily divided by digging up individual stalks. The trees are cut back during the
winter and look pretty awful... like weird mushy stumps. But, every year, they pop out bigger and better than the previous growth season. The bananas taste sweeter and more "banana-y" than the huge store bought bananas. The banana trees at our farm do not get sprayed with any type of fertilizer, pesticides or anything. If you live up north and are interested in trying out bananas, they do grow in sunrooms, greenhouses, and bathrooms if someone is constantly taking a hot shower (well, the bathroom has not been officially tested, but now you know what kind of climate we're living in down here).
  These bananas are so sweet, that if you are making a banana bread with them, the sugar should be cut down by at least 1/4.  My favorite healthy banana bread recipe is from the folks. What is your favorite banana bread?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That's gigantic! Save me a banana, I'd love to try one of yours.