Banana Blossoms are considered vegetable in some cultures. In the Philippines, they are made into ensaladas in the Ilonggo-speaking regions and included in stews in Bisayan speaking regions. In the northern part, particularly Luzon, they are not too common to be included in the vegetable dish.
Southeast Asian farmers first domesticated bananas. Recent archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence at Kuk Swamp in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE, and possibly to 8000 BCE. It is likely that other species were later and independently domesticated elsewhere in southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is the region of primary diversity of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in the region.
It is likely, however, that bananas were brought at least to Madagascar if not to the East African coast during the phase of Malagasy colonization of the island from South East Asia c. 400 CE.
The Buddhist story Vessantara Jataka briefly mentions the banana, the king Vessantara has found a banana tree (among some other fruit trees) in the jungle, that bear bananas the size of an elephant’s tusk.
The banana may have been present in isolated locations of the Middle East on the eve of Islam. There is some textual evidence that the prophet Muhammad was familiar with bananas. The spread of Islam was followed by far-reaching diffusion. There are numerous references to it in Islamic texts (such as poems and hadiths) beginning in the 9th century. By the 10th century the banana appears in texts from Palestine and Egypt. From there it diffused into north Africa and Muslim Iberia. During the medieval ages, bananas from Granada were considered among the best in the Arab world. In 650, Islamic conquerors brought the banana to Palestine. Today, banana consumption increases significantly in Islamic countries during Ramadan, the month of daylight fasting.
Bananas were introduced to the Americas by Portuguese sailors who brought the fruits from West Africa in the 16th century. The word banana is of West African origin, from the Wolof language, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.
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Export bananas are picked green, and ripen in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene gas to induce ripening. The vivid yellow color normally associated with supermarket bananas is in fact a side effect of the artificial ripening process. Flavor and texture are also affected by ripening temperature. Bananas are refrigerated to between 13.5 and 15 °C (56 and 59 °F) during transport. At lower temperatures, ripening permanently stalls, and turns the bananas gray as cell walls break down. The skin of ripe bananas quickly blackens in the 4 °C (39 °F) environment of a domestic refrigerator, although the fruit inside remains unaffected.
Storage and Transport
Bananas must be transported over long distances from the tropics to world markets. To obtain maximum shelf life, harvest comes before the fruit is mature. The fruit requires careful handling, rapid transport to ports, cooling, and refrigerated shipping. The goal is to prevent the bananas from producing their natural ripening agent, ethylene. This technology allows storage and transport for 3–4 weeks at 13 °C (55 °F). On arrival, bananas are held at about 17 °C (63 °F) and treated with a low concentration of ethylene. After a few days, the fruit begins to ripen and is distributed for final sale. Unripe bananas can not be held in home refrigerators because they suffer from the cold. Ripe bananas can be held for a few days at home. If bananas are too green, they can be put in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight to speed up the ripening process. _ Wikipedia
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