Here's another bit of fun and research that didn't make it into the community magazine. My whole inspiration for the piece started while I was watching a TV documentary about Chatsworth House. Very interesting! I do like bananas, and of course, people who know me know I just love Minions. Actually, I am bananas for Minions.
Chatsworth House is a stately home in Derbyshire, and is the ancestral home of the Cavendish family, headed by the Dukes of Devonshire. What does this have to do with bananas, you ask? Though there are over fifty varieties, the banana you had with your cereal this morning is most likely a Cavendish banana, named for William, the 6th Duke, who grew them in his vast, glass Great Conservatory on the estate. Bet you didn’t know that!
You could go bananas with all the banana information available on the web today.* Banana plants are herbaceous, so bananas don’t grow on trees. Botanically speaking, bananas are berries, though you can’t grow them from their seeds as you can with an avocado, a coffee bean, or a grape. Bananas are the greatest selling of all the fruits, and one of the most popular foods in America and in the world. The average American eats 27 pounds of bananas, more than the average 23 pounds of pizza we consume each year. The banana is full of nutrients, is portable, requires no cooking, and can be a part of any meal. Bananas make us laugh.
Why do we go bananas? Why is the word associated with comedy and laughter? Well, we do laugh at monkey antics, and monkeys do like bananas. We talk about “top bananas” and “second bananas” and “going bananas”. About the only thing painful about bananas would be if you slipped on the peel, yet many folks will laugh at that. Bananas have been celebrated in songs like Yellow Bird and The Banana Boat Song, and in the movies. In 1971, Woody Allen went Bananas in a fictional banana republic, and in 2010, Minions went bananas in Despicable Me. Now they have their own movie Minions, of course. They are still “bananas!”
If you chose to, you could eat the whole banana, skin and all. No part of it is bad for you, but it is recommended that you eat no more than two a day, with or without the peel. They are so full of nutrients that if you ate too many you could overdose on some vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, but you’d have to eat more than a whole hand of bananas, not just a finger or two.
|If it's been in the fridge it is still perfect.|
Many of us think that “you should never put bananas in your refrigerator.” For years bananas have been getting over-ripe and mushy on kitchen counters because people believed the warning in the old Chiquita Banana jingle. That practice is so wrong. Someone came up with that tag line and used the word ‘refrigerator’ to rhyme with the ‘very, very tropical equator’, the climate in which bananas are grown. They could and did come up with a better jingle later on. If you buy bananas just the way you like to eat them, put them right in the refrigerator. If you buy them a bit greener than you like, leave them out until they are just the way you want them. Yes, the skins will get spotted and browner as the days pass, but the inside will stay just perfect for at least a week, in time for you to restock on your next shopping trip. Over-ripe bananas? Make banana bread or a smoothie. You can’t go wrong going bananas.
*The Chiquita Banana website, chiquitabananas.com, is a font of banana fun facts, recipes, and good information on health and nutrition.