Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hey Buddy

Andy and I grow bananas, and so far we've had two plants with fruit on them. The first bunch of bananas took SO LONG before they were ready to pick - like 3 months or so. We cut off one hand at a time, rather than chopping down the whole bunch, so for 8 weeks or so we had fresh bananas from our back yard, rather than a glut all at once.

We have another bunch on a new plant, and it gave me a second opportunity to try eating the banana blossom. We did this with the first plant, but forgot to record anything about it. It's a weird looking part of the plant - a strange spear that looks nothing like a flower. The fruit forms underneath each petal, but after a while they stop producing. So we cut the flower off and eat it.

Start by peeling off the red petals. They are probably tough - I didn't actually try to eat them, but the whole internet says to get rid of them, and who am I to argue?

I tried to save two of these as fancy-pants serving bowls for our salad, but Andy tore them up and put them in the compost before I realised.

Underneath each petal are these little bunches of what would have become bananas (except that they don't, this far in - otherwise leave the flower in the tree!!). Supposedly you can eat these, if you separate out the stamen from the outer bit, but it sounds like a lot of work so we haven't tried yet.

This white thing is the part we eat. If you don't have a banana plant on hand, supposedly you can substitute cabbage in its place. Shred this as you do for cabbage.

Immediately put the banana blossom shreds into a bowl of water with lime juice. This is meant to keep it from browning. Mine went sort of gray anyways - the colour of a banana peel that's been cut, actually. It's not the most appetising appearance, but when it's covered with dressing it's not so bad.

I found this recipe and planned to sort of follow it, and then didn't really. Ours was an Asian-inspired salad based entirely on what we had in the pantry, fridge and garden, and it turned out really nice.

Tropical Vegan Banana Bud Salad

1 banana bud, shredded
1 yellow capsicum, cut into matchsticks
2 spring onions, chopped
1 green chilli, finely sliced
2 Tbsp. perennial coriander (aka culantro?), minced
3 Tbsp. vietnamese mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 c. crushed peanuts

1 Tbsp. hot water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
juice from 1/2 a lime
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. In a large bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients. Pour over the dressing and let it sit for 20 minutes (or longer) before you eat it.

This salad mostly tastes like fresh Asian salad, because of the herbs and spring onions and so on. But the banana bud tastes a little bit like banana peel does, in a pleasant way. That isn't a great description, I know, but trust me. We served ours with some Vietnamese asparagus & mushrooms with rice noodles. 


Kari said...

This seems like a perfect representation of Northern Queensland eating :) And, I am so impressed with your banana growing! Fresh bananas for 2 months is fantastic, and I had no idea you could use the buds like this either. If only I had a banana tree of my own...

Joey said...

Not am I jealous you live somewhere with enough sun to grow bananas, I'm massively impressed that you knew you could eat the bud, let alone turn it into such a cool dish!

Anonymous said...

This really is amazing to me, I'm so jealous of anyone who says "I grow my own bananas"!