Banana blossom has a lot of benefits that are fantastic for your health. Where are my vegan lovers? Are you ready? Great! I’m so excited to share with you what banana blossom can do and if you aren’t vegan, I bet you’ll still fall in love with this flower.
What is banana blossom?
Many probably ask- is banana blossom a fruit? No, the banana blossom is the flower that grows on a banana plant. It is also popularly known as the banana heart or banana flower, where the fruit-banana- are grown/developed from. The flower is shaped like a water or tear droplet with red-purple skin. But let’s talk about the taste. At this point, many have considered it to be a vegan food substitute for fish.
What does banana blossom taste like and does it taste like banana?
It has a fleshy, chunky, and flaky texture but its taste is quite neutral due to its fibrous capacity but does has a slightly nutty and fruity flavor.
So, no it doesn’t taste like banana. Because it has a neutral flavor, many people season it to reflect the flavor of fish or cook it as/in other meals.
Example-soups, stews, salads, and dips. Because the flower stems from the banana plant, it will be classified as part of the same genus (Musa) and family- Musaceae.
Fun fact– A banana is not grown on a tree, it is rather a perennial herbaceous plant. The blossom is available all-year with a high peak during the winter season. The banana plant is grown in most tropical regions, where the blossom is mostly in South-East Asian cuisines- for example, Thai cuisine.
What is the difference between banana flowers and banana leaves?
Although banana blossoms are a part of banana trees, they are two different things. Banana flowers are delicate and edible while banana leaves are thick, with a weird texture, and definitely not pleasant to the taste buds.
How to properly eat the banana blossom
You can eat the banana blossom raw or cooked. But when preparing for consumption you must be careful, because it contains a bitter sop that you should get rid of, in order to avoid your meals tasting bitter. But first, here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 banana blossom (dependent on the size of the meal you are preparing).
- A flat platter (or two if you don’t have a newspaper).
- A sheet of newspaper (makes the clean-up easier).
- A bowl of acidic water or saltwater solution.
- A knife.
Here’s how to make the acidic water:
- Measure ¼ cup of lime juice/apple cider vinegar.
- Add the ¼ cup of lime juice/apple cider vinegar to a bowl of cold water (4-5 cups).
- Stir lightly and you’re good to go.
Here’s how to make the saltwater solution:
- Pour four cups of cold water into a bowl.
- Measure 1 ½ tablespoons of salt.
- Add the measured salt into the bowl of cold water.
- Stir lightly until the salt is dissolved. Then bingo! You’re good to go.
Now we have the necessities, we can now know how to prepare the banana blossom for consumption.
Here’s how to avoid that bitter taste:
- Rub your fingertips or hands with a neutral oil (oils that do not have strong flavors-e.g. regular cooking oil) or vegan oil (e.g. coconut oil). This helps with avoiding the stain caused by the black sap. Trim off the conical stem and discard it if you purchased it like that. Then wash the banana blossom.
- Now here’s the key notice- the florets (cream long buds with yellow tips) are what will be used to cook not the bracts (the tough purple skin of the banana blossom), the bracts are NOT edible. Peel the purple-red skin off, after taking off the first layer, you should see the light-yellow/ cream long and stem-like florets (flower buds).
- Use your hand to tear off the cluster of florets and put them on a flat platter plate, then peel another layer of the purple skin off to reveal another cluster of florets and tear those off as well. Repeat this process until you get rid of all the purple skin (bracts).
- After there is no more purple skin, you will now be at the heart of the flower, where it has a cream or light yellow color. Put the heart aside for a while.
- It’s time to clean the florets! This is another crucial Recall that it was mentioned earlier about the bitterness it can give to meals if not prepared and cleaned properly? Great! If you part one of the flower buds from the cluster, you will see a long match-stick like bud (the longest among the other 4-5 buds).
- This is the pistil (do not consume), now look for a light purple oval petal-this is the calyx. Remove them from the bud via plucking and discard them on a sheet of newspaper or platter. Note though that sometimes the calyx is a clear oval small petal. Once you have cleaned one bud put it in the bowl of prepared acidic water or saltwater solution. Repeat this process for all the uncleaned florets.
- Now let’s focus back on the flower’s heart! At this point, you can continue like the other method above by tearing away the florets (these ones are smaller in size and shouldn’t have to be cleaned later, but you can separate these from the other florets to double-check if they do have pistils and calyx to remove) or use a knife and slit the tear-shaped heart into two lengthwise. You should see a white sop in the center, that’s another reason for the bitter taste. Dice them moderately into pieces/cubes.
- Now place them in the prepared acidic water and let it stay overnight or at least six hours before you use it. (P.s. don’t forget to clean up your area and throw away the newspaper with the pistils and calyxes).
- Strain the liquid off then wash the florets with cold water. You can chop the unsliced florets depending on the dish you are to prepare. Bon Appetit!
How to store banana blossom
A recommendation is to select a blemish and decay-free banana blossom before purchasing. Once you purchase the flower, you should wash it and dry it. After this short process, wrap it in clear plastic wrap and store it in your refrigerator. If you purchased the conical stem with the flower or you picked it from the banana plant then chop of the stem before washing it.
If you have peeled and cleaned the flower and have leftovers, store it in an airtight container or a resealable zipper storage bag and store it in the refrigerator. They stay fresh for approximately two days.
Where can I buy banana blossom?
Typically, one can find banana blossom flowers in areas where people grow bananas. The local farmers or even some grocery store owners sell banana blossom and banana blossom trees. It is not necessary that you can only find banana blossoms near areas with banana trees, you can also find banana flowers at Indian stores or Asian markets. Well, being in an area or in nearby areas where banana flowers grow, you can get your hands on the fresh ones but even if you live far away, you can find the Canned version or frozen ones in the foods department.
Canned Or Fresh? Which Banana Blossom Is The Most Preferred And Why?
Well, we all have been told that fresh food over canned or tinned, any day. But in the case of banana blossom, for the best taste, you might want to grab the canned form. As they are rare and fresh is only found in South East Asian countries, the only option left is tinned. But worry not, according to people who frequently use banana blossom, they said that using canned banana blossom as a base in their meals who have cooking time has actually enhanced the taste of their meals.
A tip: one way to know that the banana blossom is not too old or decayed is:
- Tightly packed petals
- A good purple-red color.
Green Banana Recipes To Prepare
- Boiled Green Bananas
- Green Banana Rundown
- Green Banana Dumplings
- Pickled Green Banana Salad
- Banana Porridge
Health Benefits of Banana Blossom
The most popular question that I know you are asking is- what is banana blossom good for? Well, banana blossom mainly has; calcium, copper, iron, macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat), magnesium, myoinositol, phosphorus, potassium, tannin Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Amazing, right? Some scientists call it a superfood in the making. But here are some benefits:
- Helps treat diabetes (type 2)- The magnesium and other compounds found in the banana blossom helps to reduce blood sugar levels, especially eaten raw or cooked as a meal on its own.
- Prevents anemia- Banana blossom possesses iron and other compounds that produce or aids in the production of hemoglobin.
- Reduces high blood pressure- The nutrient like potassium and other antioxidants aids with this.
- Treats infection- Due to the Vitamin C present and ethanol as well as other compounds.
- May promote lactation that is essential for breastfeeding, may treat excessive bleeding, and may maintain a healthy uterus.
- May prevent heart disease and cancer– This is due to the high source of tannin and other antioxidants (e.g. phenolic acids) and nutrients (e.g. copper) that thwarts free radicals that lead to the production of cancer cells and increase possibilities of heart disease.
- Helps with weight loss– This is due to the dietary fiber and other nutrients present in banana blossom.
- Helps with gastrointestinal issues.
- Mood stabilizer– Due to the antioxidants present and other nutrients like magnesium.
- Build stronger bones, teeth, and muscles– Due to calcium and other nutrients and compounds.
- May improves the immune system– Mainly due but not limited to Vitamin C present.
- May promote healthy kidneys– This is due to the plethora of nutrients (e.g. Vitamin A) and compounds found in banana blossoms.
Banana blossom also slows down the aging process as well as reduces anxiety-due to its antidepressant characteristics. Read More.
Using a banana flower tea bag in the form of tea may also relax your mind and helps with your health- this can be purchased at your supermarket or online.
As per the information mentioned above, it is no lie that banana blossom is making its way into our everyday lives. It has now become a lot more popular than it was before. Amongst the different uses, two of the important ones are; 1. Health benefits 2. It can be used as vegan meat.
Apart from this, it can also be used as a part of a healthy diet as it promotes weight loss and improves metabolism. It’s high time people start considering the usage of banana blossoms as it not only has a lot of minerals, vitamins, health benefits but is also a good treat for the taste buds!
Banana flower/banana heart/banana blossom is more than what meets the eyes. Try it in a dish and let us know the result! I bet it’s going to be yummy! Bon Appetit!
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