Garden, Plant, Cook!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Banana Flower Bud

Howdy Folks,

On June 29, 2009, Deane spotted the banana flower bud on our Blue Java (aka "Ice Cream") banana plant. Hope you can see how the bud can just sort of appear - I circled, from left to right, in blue the bud as viewed from far away, then closer, then right up underneath it.

If you have followed my blog and newsletter you may remember we got our first ever banana bloom, followed by fruit, last fall. The challenge was that it really flowered too late for the fruit to develop to proper size. We decided to cut the fruit stalk off just before an impending freeze, hung the stalk in a back room and several weeks later we actually got to taste ripe bananas! That was okay, but I was really hoping our plants would fruit early enough this spring/summer to allow the fruit to ripen more fully before harvesting. I am really excited that we will get the true 'vanilla ice cream' flavor this banana is known for. Will keep you posted.

Did you know the whole plant is pretty much edible? The flower bud (as shown), the fruit, and the leaves (used for steaming food). I do not want to sacrifice a flower bud to try cooking with it, but I have used the leaves to steam things on the grill and it imparts a fruity flavor note to the food.

TIP: When serving food, especially with the July 4th weekend coming up, use edible leaves in place of doilies to display your delicious foods. Citrus, fig and banana leaves are all edible (meaning non-toxic, crunchy but safe) garnishes for your serving platters.

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Have a great day,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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