Friday, 25 August 2017

Profile On: Banana

Today in our "Profile On" series we focus on the age-old banana! On average we eat 10kg of bananas per year, each! That's a whole lot of bananas! Find out more about this popular fruit...

What is it?
While bananas are botanically a berry, they are classed as a fruit as they contain the seeds of a plant, although since they have been commercially grown, the plants are sterile, and the seeds have been reduced to little specs. In the UK we eat the soft, sweet dessert bananas, however there are cooking bananas, known as plantains.

What does it look like?
The banana is curved, with a yellow peel, and a white flesh inside.

Other names?
The Latin name is Musa Sapientum, which translates as "fruit of the wise man" The word "banana "comes the Arabic word "banan" meaning finger, and a bunch of bananas is known as a hand!

Where's it from?
A banana tree is not actually a tree -it's the world's largest herb! They are grown in tropical areas like Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. Only around 15 to 20% of all bananas are exported to the global market. The bananas we eat in the UK normally come from Latin American and West Africa,.

When is it available?
All year round.

How do I eat it?
Bananas are best when they are bright yellow - green bananas are unripe, and may cause a bad stomach. If there is a little bit of green at the top the banana is fine to eat. If the banana has a lot of brown spots, it is very overripe, so it is best for baking or for smoothies. To get to the flesh you need to peel the skin away - most people do it from the large stem at the top, but did you know you can also do it from the black end?

What does it taste like?
It has a texture like mango, but it is not as slimy. The flavour is subdued, not strong, but sweet. Bananas with spots have the strongest flavour as they are very ripe.

What are the health benefits?

The skin has multiple benefits. They can help with splinters as it loosens the foreign fragments in skin and helps heel the wound. You can rub it on your skin to remove ink stains or soothe insect bites.
Bananas are low in calories - around 100 calories for a medium banana, and have little to no fat, sodium or cholesterol. They are a good source of vitamin C,potassium, fibre and vitamin b6. They make great snacks before or after workouts, as they release energy within 30 minutes, which means you're good to go!

Have any fun facts about bananas? Let us know @office_fruit!

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