Did you know there are 1,000 different types of bananas in the world? Before the 1950s, the U.S. imported Gros Michel bananas, otherwise known as Big Mike, that has become effectively extinct due to Panama Disease that killed most of the crops. You can still get them, but not in the U.S. since they can no longer be produced commercially. You would have to travel to Africa, parts of Southeast Asia and some islands in the Pacific. We now eat the Cavendish banana because of its resistant to the fungal disease. Most of us were either too little to remember the Gros Michel bananas or weren’t born yet. If you know anyone who was born before 1950, ask them if they remember what those bananas tasted like.
There is even a blue banana! It’s called the Ice Cream banana because it’s blue and because it has a creamy texture. There is also a black banana called the Niño due to its small size. I couldn’t get past the color to try that one. To me, black means rotten. I guess it’s pretty tasty though. When ripe, it allegedly tastes lemony.
Another interesting fact is that bananas (before they were, for lack of a better word, neutered, to be mass produced for international sales) originally had seeds in them. What we eat today still has seeds, although you would never know it because they are so small – you know, the tiny things situated in the middle of the banana.
The oddest thing I found out about the banana is that it is and isn’t a fruit. The part you eat is a fruit, but the tree stem is not made of wood but overlapping leaves that are tightly bound. So, the banana tree, which is not really a tree, is the largest herb on the planet and is a distant relative to ginger. The more you know!
The banana is a healthy snack with many healing qualities. Due to its potassium content, it helps with blood pressure, diabetes, and keeps your heart healthy. The peel has some medicinal properties also. It can ease the itch of bug bites and be used for other purposes too. So the next time you eat a banana, know that you are helping your body stay healthy, and don’t throw the peel away. Polish your shoes with it first!