Updated: Oct 4, 2021
The Banana plant is the largest of all the herbaceous plants that are ever known. Each and every part is useful from its leaves to the stem to the fruit.
Banana, an edible, elongated fruit, is basically a berry. It belongs to the genus Musa.
There are approximately 110 different varieties of bananas.
" From leaves to stem
From stem to fruit
Banana is a wonder
Among all fruits queue".
Let's explore the world of banana plants.
1) Banana leaves
2) Banana fruit
3) Banana stem
"Bright green, lustrous with the tinch of Aroma,
Banana leaves have various properties from its veins to epidermal."
Let's dive into the world of banana leaves.
These leaves are large, lustrous, flexible, decorative and most importantly they are waterproof.
In everyday life, we frequently come across banana fruit but have you ever wondered that banana leaves can also do miracles?
Let's see how.
Writing surfaces (History)
In earlier times banana leaves were used as writing surfaces by many people of south and southeast Asia. Here the ribs of the leaves were used like dividing lines of ruled paper.
It is also surprising to know that the rounded letters of various scripts of South and Southeast Asia were thought to have been influenced by parallel venation of the leaves as the use of sharp angles and straight lines would risk the splitting of the Banana leaf thereby ruining its surface.
Banana leaves provide subtle, sweet savoring flavor and great aroma to the dishes served in them. Along with all these properties, the leaves absorb the food juices thereby preventing the food from burning. These leaves are also used as packaging material and also used for frying some dishes, for example, Paneer Bappa, Damini dhokla, pankhi, and many more.
Leaves of bananas are known to cure some common skin issues as these leaves have a property of relieving sunburn, wounds, and eczema. It can also treat rashes and allergic reactions.
It contains a high amount of antioxidants which help in boosting the immune system of the body.
Banana leaves are used for making candle holders, bouquets, zero waste gift wrappers, ornaments, greeting cards, cups, plates, and many more.
Significance of green color
The green color helps in elevating anxiety, nervousness, and depression. It symbolizes hope, health, adventure, and renewal along with harmony.
"Thick, fleshy green and yellow
Banana fruit is overall mellow ."
Apart from leaves, let's talk about various banana fruit varieties.
1. Apple banana
It is sweet and its flesh is generally firm with the pinkish tone. It is used in desserts and is best suited for fruit salads; it does not rot quickly.
2. Cavendish Banana
These are long, slender, and are slightly sweet. They turn from ripe green to mild yellow to dark yellow color while rotting. In order to prevent early rotting these are sold green and underripe. These have so many varieties like giant Cavendish banana and dwarf Cavendish banana and so on.
3. Ladyfinger banana
These are generally used in snack making and are also called baby bananas. They are small and sweet.
4. Pisang Raja
Its other name is Musa belle banana. These are generally used to make banana fritters. These have a taste of honey and have a range of colors from yellow to orange.
5. Red banana
They are sweet, their red color imparts uniqueness and variability. When these bananas turn red they are ready to eat. They have a great very flavor. They have a light pink Orange colored flesh.
6. Cooking bananas.
It's a unique feature of this kind of Banana that these can be roasted, steamed, fried like any other starchy vegetable. These are sold green in general.
7. Manzano Banana
They have a taste similar to those of apples or strawberries. These bananas turn black when they are fully ripe. These have a velvet texture and are used in dessert making.
8 Blue java bananas
These are also called ice cream bananas due to their Vanilla flavor. These are cold tolerant and are wind resistant. They have an unusual blue color which makes them unique among all the varieties.
9. Burro Bananas
These have a lemon-flavored taste. These are also called hog bananas. These are used as savory ingredients and are very nutritious in nature.
10. Barangan Bananas.
These are yellow with small black dots all over the body. These are eaten as a dessert and are very nutritious in nature.
11. Goldfinger banana
These are developed after a program of conventional hybridization with the gene pool of more than 800 banana cultivations; these are also edible when they are green.
12. Saba Banana
These bananas are known for their angular shape and dark blue-green color. These are very nutritious and are used in making banana ketchup.
Nutritional value of Banana fruit
Bananas are rich in fiber, potassium magnesium, Vitamin b6, Vitamin C. They contain many antioxidants and also contain minimal amounts of fats. These are helpful in improving digestive health and blood sugar levels. They also aid in weight loss up to an extent. One should have bananas before the workout to get some energy.
" Long slender, thick and green,
Fleshy and always shining ."
A banana stem is a fibrous stalk with high water content. This is a pseudostem that is made by the lower part of the leaves.
Just like leaves and fruits, the banana stems have many uses.
Some of the major medicinal uses are mentioned below.
1)Stems contain a high amount of fiber and it helps in cleansing the digestive system. This facilitates bowel movement thereby leading to a good digestion process.
2) Stems also act as a home remedy for urinary tract infection (UTD) and kidney stones.
3 ) These are helpful in giving relief from hyperacidity.
4) These along with lemon juice are excellent for controlling diabetes.
Fibers derived from banana stems are used in making various handicrafts and products like mat, rope, fishing net, paper sheets, absorbent, organic fertilizers, and many more. (Read the blog: Banana fiber & money)
Bananas are wonderful fruits. They have so many uses. In banana plantations, each and every part is used in some of the other manners for creating various products.
The plantation of bananas can be considered as a zero-waste technique to attain maximum productivity.
BY Dikshita Sudan
BSc AG Hons