Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Yes, We Have No Bananas

I'm a fan of fresh, raw fruit. I prefer to eat vegetables that way, too, but apples, bananas, pears, cherries, peaches, all like that? If you are going to get sugar, that's the way to go.

Recently (January 10, '11) The New Yorker ran a piece on bananas that I found fascinating.
The abstract is here

First thing I learned I didn't know? We eat a lot more bananas in the U.S. than we do all varieties of apples combined. 

Basically, almost all the bananas we eat in the northern hemisphere are of a single variety, the Cavendish, which, according the story, a nineteenth century British explorer came across in a Chinese garden. Most bananas, and there are tons of other varieties, don't do well when exported, for sundry reasons–how they ripen, how durable they are, like that.

There are a couple of small, red bananas pictured above with a standard Cavendish yellow. You can get those–along with plantains–which tend to be starchy enough they need to be cooked to be palatable–but the little ones are spendier than the common variety. The reds are a little sweeter than the yellows, and have a slightly less-firm flesh.

Cavendish bananas, by the by, are not the ones your parents grew up with; that variety fell prey to a fungus and was mostly wiped out in the 1950's. And the variety we now eat is apparently about to fall prey to a variant of that fungus, and things are looking dim for Chiquita and company.

Growers are working on resistant strains and trying to come up with new ones, but according to those in the know, the banana apocalypse looms ...

Just so you know ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'The banana apocalypse'

Is it just me, or does that sound dirty?