12/10/2014

GO BANANAS!



A few drops of rain and the banana plant in our community garden bursts into flower. It's a plant, not a tree - actually it belongs to the herb family!
The spectacular flower is about 50cm long and a lovely purple colour. 
As you can see, the first petal is just starting to curl - what happens next is amazing.

Beaneath each petal nestles a tiny hand of bananas waiting to be fertilised.


At this stage they are all straight and pointing downwards, but that changes as they grow and ripen. We have watched our own plant produce a small bunch each year, but the sight of thousands of bananas growing inside a plantation is fascinating - next time you're in Tenerife, take a guided tour.


Eventually all the petals fall off and as the bananas grow they curve upwards to reach for the sunlight. You need to be strong to carry one of these huge bunches on your back as the plantation workers do., but it's the only way to get them to the lorries undamaged.


Canarian bananas are smaller than the American ones and much, much tastier. Since the Banana Wars, when America tried to price their rivals out of existence, Canarian bananas are making a comeback - and rightly so.
Each week we buy some from the local farmers' market where they sell 'Grade 2' - those that haven't reached export standard. 
We're not complaining - they're just as delicious.

So there you have it - my thought for the day - go bananas, Canarian-style!




7 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I hope you always buy Canarian ones!

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  2. A great sequence of photos, Liz. I had no idea bananas started growing down and then turned upwards but makes perfect sense when you think about it.
    Ann

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    1. Ann - I didn't know either till we went on a guided tour of a plantation. I love any kind of documentary, but an actual tour is much more memorable.

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    2. Indeed. I always try to take advantage of the special free tours available during our annual Heritage weekends in September. If you've walked a route it always seems easier to visiualise and remember facts afterwards.

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    3. How fascinating. Never really thought about how they developed on the tree. Such a shame that the quality of fruit in Britain is generally so poor when we are encouraged to eat five a day.

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    4. Buy local produce is the answer wherever you live. In England the apples are unbeatable, and you can't get Victoria plums here.

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