27/06/2012

BANANAS!

Yes, he does look a bit cross, doesn't he? but this is the lovely Kev, our guide for a free trip round a banana plantation yesterday. A coach picked us up, along with about two dozen others, and after a glass of Bucks Fizz and a demonstration/sales pitch about pure Merino wool bedding, we were taken to a HUGE plantation - acres and acres of banana plants under those ubiquitous plastic tents that keep moisture in and the sun out.


We had to be careful walking along the paths because if you hit your head on one of those banana flowers, it hurt! And they leak a sticky residue too, so the path looks as if a car has been garaged there every few yards, leaking oil.

The life cycle of a banana plant - and it is not a tree but a plant of the herb family - runs thus.

A new plant grows from a bud on the parent plant, which is also busily producing it's one flower.
As each petal curls up, dries and drops off, a tiny hand of bananas is revealed pointing downwards, until there is a whole bunch. The bananas slowly curve upwards seeking the sun, and then it's just a matter of waiting for them to soak up enough water to grow until the bunch weighs 60-80 kilos. They are cut green and ripen according to the temperature they are stored at.
The parent stem drains its water content back into the soil, the stem is chopped down to create a mulch, and new year's stem begins to grow a flower. Each plant produces a stem and a flower once every nine months for around six years before it is too weak to continue, but it's offspring survive from generation to generation.
And the Canarian banana is the best and tastiest in the world - small, curved and full of flavour, not huge and straight and tasteless.






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6 comments:

  1. Interesting! Thanks for teaching me about bananas. I'd love to try those little tasty ones sometime, instead of the monster bland ones we get in our grocery stores.

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  2. I agree the Canarian bananas are the best to eat. However their shelf life is somewhat shorter than the Caribean variety. I learned a lot from today's blog. I really hadn't a clue about how they grow etc.
    Thank you Liz.

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  3. I was always told bananas grow down not up.

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  4. Fascinating stuff !
    Will look out for Canarian bananas because a lot sold in the supermarkets really are tasteless. Not sure what they do with them but they often don't ripen, though they change colour from green to yellow to (very quickly) brown. Maybe they have been frozen or something ...

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  5. I never knew that. I agree with Lexia though. It's a great shame that bananas don't ripen slowly like they used to. And they don't taste as good as when I was a kid either... or is that an age thing?

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  6. Good to be here at this fascinating page. I am here via Arlee's page.
    The pics are eye capturing. Thanks for sharing this
    Best Regards

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