Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red. In popular culture and commerce, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet “dessert” bananas. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains. Many varieties of bananas are perennial. Refer to the Musa article for a list of the varieties of bananas and plantains.

They are native to tropical Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and as ornamental plants.

Although fruit of wild species (Musa balbisiana) have large, hard seeds, virtually all culinary bananas are “seedless”, have only tiny seeds[citation needed]. Bananas are classified either as dessert bananas (meaning they are yellow and fully ripe when eaten) or as green cooking bananas.

Almost all export bananas are of the dessert types; however, only about 10–15% of production is for export. The United States and European Union are the dominant importers.

Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more so than most other fruits, because of their high potassium content, and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium. Proponents of nuclear power sometimes refer to the banana equivalent dose of radiation to support their arguments.[5][6] Banana shipments often set off the radiation monitors installed at US ports to detect illegal shipments of radiologic materials.

The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy and are often mistaken for trees, but their main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem that grows 6 to 7.6 metres (20 to 24.9 ft) tall, growing from a corm. Each pseudostem can produce a single bunch of bananas. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots may develop from the base of the plant.

Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) long and 60 cm (2.0 ft) wide. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the banana heart. (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines produced five.) The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly called petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (that can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior, meaning that the tiny petals and other flower parts appear at the tip of the ovary.

Banana fruit develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called hands) with up to 20 fruit to a tier. The hanging cluster is known as a bunch, comprising 3–20 tiers, or commercially as a “banana stem”, and can weigh from 30–50 kilograms (66–110 lb). In common usage, bunch applies to part of a tier containing 3-10 adjacent fruits.

Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or ‘finger’), average 125 grams (0.28 lb), of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter. There is an protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem bundles), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety splits easily lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels.

The fruit has been described as a “leathery berry”. In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit. Bananas grow pointing up, not hanging down.

The genus Musa is in the family Musaceae. The APG II system, of 2003 (unchanged from 1998), assigns Musaceae to the order Zingiberales in the clade commelinids in the monocotyledonous flowering plants. Some sources assert that the banana’s genus, Musa, is named for Antonio Musa, physician to the Emperor Augustus. Others say that Linnaeus, who named the genus in 1750, simply adapted an Arabic word for banana, mauz. The word banana itself might have come from the Arabic banan, which means “finger”, or perhaps from Wolof banana. The genus contains many species; several produce edible fruit, while others are cultivated as ornamentals.

Musa × paradisiaca is also the generic name for the common plantain, a coarser and starchier variant not to be confused with Musa acuminata or the Cavendish variety.

Most production for local sale is of green cooking bananas and plantains, because ripe dessert bananas are easily damaged in transport. Ripe bananas suffer a high rate of damage and loss, even when moving only a short distance.

The commercial dessert cultivars most commonly eaten in temperate countries (species Musa acuminata or the hybrid Musa × paradisiaca, a cultigen) are imported from the tropics.

The fruit

Bananas are the staple starch of many tropical populations. Depending upon cultivar and ripeness, the flesh can vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy. Both skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. Bananas’ flavor is due, amongst other chemicals, to isoamyl acetate which is one of the main constituents of banana oil.

During the ripening process, bananas produce a plant hormone called ethylene, which indirectly affects the flavor. Among other things, ethylene stimulates the formation of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugar, influencing the taste of bananas. The greener, less ripe bananas contain higher levels of starch and, consequently, have a “starchier” taste. On the other hand, yellow bananas taste sweeter due to higher sugar concentrations. Furthermore, ethylene signals the production of pectinase, an enzyme which breaks down the pectin between the cells of the banana, causing the banana to soften as it ripens.

Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin in a split bamboo, or steamed in glutinous rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Bananas can be made into jam. Banana pancakes are popular amongst backpackers and other travelers in South Asia and Southeast Asia. This has elicited the expression Banana Pancake Trail for those places in Asia that cater to this group of travelers. Banana chips are a snack produced from sliced dehydrated or fried banana or plantain, which have a dark brown color and an intense banana taste. Dried bananas are also ground to make banana flour. Extracting juice is difficult, because when a banana is compressed, it simply turns to pulp. Bananas fried with batter is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. A similar dish is known in the United States as banana fritters.

Plantains are used in various stews and curries or cooked, baked or mashed in much the same way as potatoes.

Seeded bananas (Musa balbisiana), the forerunner of the common domesticated banana, are sold in markets in Indonesia.
The flower

Banana hearts are used as a vegetable in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups and curries. The flavor resembles that of artichoke. As with artichokes, both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible.

The trunk

The tender core of the banana plant’s trunk is also used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, and notably in the Burmese dish mohinga.

The leaves

Banana leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. They are often used as ecologically friendly disposable food containers or as “plates” in South Asia and several Southeast Asian countries. Especially in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu in every occasion the food must be served in a banana leaf and as a part of the food a banana is served. Steamed with dishes they impart a subtle sweet flavor. They often serve as a wrapping for grilling food. The leaves contain the juices, protect food from burning and add a subtle flavor.

Health benefits

Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma.

Individuals with a latex allergy may experience a reaction to bananas.

Bananas contain considerable amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. The latter makes them of particular interest to athletes who use them to quickly replenish their electrolytes.

In India, juice is extracted from the corm and used as a home remedy for jaundice, sometimes with the addition of honey, and for kidney stones. … er&list=UL

This is cute… how to eat a banana without being rude … re=related