Beautiful bountiful banana abundance

Beautiful bountiful bananas harvested today - totally spray free and grown in compost fed soils.

A small but intense storm came through late yesterday bringing down this bunch of bananas - the stem finally bent with the wind and rain.  I was wondering how long the plant would hold this heavy bunch. There are over 100 plump bananas - I can hardly lift it! It's now hanging under our verandah waiting to ripen - protected from the possums and bats.

We can't wait to taste them. They are the first bananas we've been able to grow in this garden. Finally, after a number of years of pioneer growth, we have created a few pockets of suitable microclimate for them on our block - protected from strong westerly winds and damaging winter frosts. 

The next bunch is on it's way too. Our kids eat a lot of bananas - as a filling snack, to naturally sweeten our home-baked goods like chocolate muffins, and Hugh in particular devours banana-yoghurt smoothies. 

Hugh's favourite banana smoothie recipe

Bananas are a super healthy food - high in antioxidants, and a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They have virtually no fat, cholesterol or salt and are a low GI food. They are high in iron, aid digestion, good food for the heart, for maintaining normal blood pressure, for helping to maintain healthy bones and skin, reducing depression, for maintaining energy in endurance athletes and reducing muscle cramping. The high levels of B6 support a healthy immune system, brain function and the formation of red blood cells, as well as aid weight loss and protect against type II diabetes.

Did you know too that you can rub an insect bite with the inside of the banana peel to sooth the pain and irritation?

Bananas originated around 10,000 years ago - they could have been the world’s first fruit. It is believed that the first bananas were grown around Malaya Peninsula, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea. Modern versions of the banana are much more palatable - the original bananas had big seeds and far less pulp.

Bananas are actually the world's largest herb that goes on producing year after year. It is the largest perennial plant on earth without a wooden stem. The trunk is actually a series of overlapping leaf sheaths and is made up of 90% water - this is why they are easily blown over in strong winds.

Each plant stem only produces one bunch. Once that bunch is harvested the stem of the parent plant is  chopped down and becomes organic matter for the next crop. The sucker, which is already growing from the main stem becomes the new parent plant and will bear another bunch in 8-12 months time.

Bananas are tropical and subtropical plants. Currently more than 90% of Australia's bananas are grown in Queensland, mostly in the high rainfall areas of the far north. 

I am so delighted we have managed to cultivate a good microclimate for bananas - it helps us along the way to growing more of the foods we consume a lot of in this household. 

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