Bananas Essay

Submitted By bob787878
Words: 1024
Pages: 5

The Wonderful Banana From appetizer to entrée, from savory to sweet, from raw to braised, bananas are one of the most versatile fruits you can find. Bananas are a very common fruit, but many people have a limited knowledge of bananas and have never tried cooking them. If they have, it was most likely in a dessert. I would like to open more people up to the hidden potential of bananas, and their close relative, the plantain. Bananas are considered a tropical fruit. The banana was originally domesticated in Southeast Asia in 5000 – 8000 B.C, in what is now modern day Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines, and Indonesia. They were introduced to Africa around 1000 B.C. These bananas were very different than the ones we are used to. They were all different colors, shapes, and sizes. The banana as we know it didn’t reach the Americas until the 1500s when it was introduced by Portuguese explorers. They were planted on the Caribbean Islands and in Brazil. When they finally reached the United States in the late 1860s, they were very pricy. In 1872, Jules Verne wrote Around the World in Eighty Days in which he described bananas as “as healthy as bread and as succulent as cream”. This intrigued many and banana sales exploded all around the world. With the huge demand of this new fruit, plantations were built all across Central America, which led way to major companies like Chiquita and Dole monopolizing the banana industry. There is controversy over if they are abusing their power in countries like Guatemala and Honduras where their economy is based mainly on bananas. Some think that Chiquita and Dole use that to their advantage to lower wages and working conditions because they control the market there. They deny this by showing that there are independently owned plantations and that many countries like these have support from the government to grow bananas to support the local economy. The modern-day cultivation of bananas happens mostly in India. They grow nearly 30 million tonnes of bananas each year but they export almost none of them. Ecuador exports 29% of the world’s bananas, more than any other country, while only producing 6% of all bananas, about 8 million tonnes. In my interview with Kroger’s Joe Miskimins, the Vice President of produce and floral, he told me “Our bananas come from all over the world. And with that comes some very serious risk. Brazilian wandering spiders are sometimes found inside of the shipment of bananas and they have enough poison to kill someone. All of our stores have enough antivenom to stop the affects, but it is still a worry that we all have. If a worker is bit and can’t get to the antivenom, it would be devastating. But that is a risk we will take to keep the customer satisfied and to keep in stock. Although bananas have very small seeds inside of them, the banana plant is grown from shoots. Each banana plant can last for up to 25 years. Once the plant has matured enough, plantation owners cut off part of the shoot with some of the roots to plant in a different spot to start a new plant. Bananas that are to be exported are picked when they are under ripe and green. Once they are shipped, they are put in special air-tight rooms that are filled with ethylene gas to induce the ripening. The bright yellow color is due to this artificial ripening process. Bananas only have a shelf life of 7 to 10 days, but because they are prematurely picked and refrigerated until ready to be sold, most bananas you will find in super markets were picked about a month beforehand. Once you get your bananas, you have almost unlimited possibilities. Obviously you can eat them raw, but you can also use them in many different ways to make many different foods. From simple and creative to extremely weird, you can add bananas to just about any dish. Cut them up into breakfast cereal for a healthy addition.