Bananas are one of the most-consumed fruits in the world. In Canada, we import more than 15 kilograms (about 100 bananas) per person every year. Although thousands of varieties exist, the Cavendish cultivar dominates the North American market.
2. Anatomy Lesson
Because its trunk is made of leaves instead of wood the banana plant is actually a giant herb. A cluster of bananas is called a hand, and—logically—individual bananas are called fingers.
3. Guilt-Free Frozen Treat
Peel and slice a banana, then freeze it until firm. Place it in a food processor and watch the fruit turn into a delicious ice-cream-like treat.
4. They're Climacteric
Bananas earn this tongue-twisting characterization because they keep ripening after they’ve been picked, just like avocados, kiwis, mangoes, peaches and pears.
5. Secret Tattoo
Delight little ones with a secret message written on a banana. Simply etch your note or design into the skin using a needle without piercing the flesh. Due to oxidation, come lunchtime, the surprise will be revealed.
6. Monkeying Around
Struggling to open a banana whose top has gone soft? Monkeys know the secret: They open bananas from the bottom! Who’s the silly one now?
7. Best Practices
Available in Canadian stores since 2004, fair-trade (and often organic) bananas cost a few cents more, but the tiny splurge makes a big difference: The money goes toward ensuring better conditions for industry workers.
8. Cook It Up
Plantains are starchier and less sweet than bananas. Often used like a vegetable, try them fried, puréed or stirred into a stew, like you would with a potato.
9. Pest Patrol
Fruit fly issues? Put a piece of ripe banana (or any fruit, for that matter) in a container and add half a pressed lemon or a splash of cider vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and pierce holes in the film with a toothpick. The flies will be attracted to the smell and, once trapped, won’t be able to escape.
10. Size Up
Keep this in mind when preparing your next banana bread: One medium-sized banana yields about ½ cup (125 ml) of purée.