Thursday, 18 December 2008

Herb Bananas - Yes Bananas Are a Herb

Herb Bananas - Yes Bananas Are a HerbBananas have always been a treat right from being a kid, and what a treat. The banana was always the favourite fruit, they always went first from the fruit bowl.

It was only recently that I realised that bananas are actually a herb, in fact it holds nature's world record for being the biggest herb as it grow up to 40 feet high. They don't have have stems of wood like trees do and the fruits grow in bunches at the end of the stem, which is made up of overlapping leaves that trap rainwater.

The banana is native to southeast Asia, plantains which are a close relative grows in the tropical regions and indeed are a staple food in many parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Fruit, vegetable or herb, the banana has a main say in many foods products worldwide and the health benefits that they give justify the banana as a health food.

Most plantains are inedible until cooked, usually boiled and then fried or pickled. They have a high starch element in green bananas and plantains. When they ripen they turn yellow and as the starch transforms into sugar. Some varieties of bananas turn red when ripe.

Bananas and plantains are low in fat and rich in fibre, potassium, magnesium, iron, and folic acid all required for a good diet. It has been said that the banana is the only food that you can solely live on as it has all essential the nutrient and vitamin to survive.

The skin of the ripe banana has anti-microbial properties that fight against bacteria. A little known fact is that the inside of the peel is also good for treating mild cases of sunburn. The sugars in ripe bananas provide a quick source of energy, many sportsmen and women use the banana as the perfect snack to keep them going.

Another little know fact is that the bananas are one of the top five fruits least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue in production as it doesn’t have too many problems with pest and diseases.

Herb Bananas - Yes Bananas Are a HerbDid you also know that a few species of banana are hardy enough to grow outdoors in temperate gardens? Even novice gardeners can grow bananas easily. Kits can be bought from many good garden centres and most are grown in a pot.

Finally, the best treat and my favourite milkshake is the banana version. My own recipe is given here but you can tweak it as I like it sweeten by honey - You can use sugar instead if you wish. I make this in Bulgarian from the cream, milk and honey from my neighbours' cows and bees respectively; the bananas are imported and remain big treat here.

Banana Milkshake Recipe


350 ml full-fat milk
1 tbsp cream (single or double)
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1-2 ripe bananas
Ice cubes


Just whack the lot into a liquidiser on full for 30 seconds, pour and serve.

In the winter sometimes I skip the ice and use hot milk, it's just as good and a great winter warmer!

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