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Bananas do not grow on trees or palms and are actually a giant herb. Bananas are thought to be one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits, and evidence of their existence dates back to the sixth century BC in India. Bananas grow in bunches called a ‘hand’ and each hand has about 15–20 fingers (or fruit). They are harvested when green and ripen best after picking. Bananas are used both as a fruit and a vegetable. To prevent discolouration of the flesh, cut with a stainless steel knife and toss the slices in lemon juice. Bananas for cooking should be firmer than the ones eaten raw. Cooking brings out their full flavour: lightly fry in butter and brown sugar or coat with batter and deep–fry and serve with cream or ice cream. Banana leaves are useful too and can be used to wrap rice, fish or chicken: the parcel can be steamed or grilled. Banana flowers are also edible. They can be sliced thinly and added to salads or used in a vegetable stir–fry.

Special Note

Bananas go with — bacon, chocolate, coconut, curry, rum, sugar, yoghurt