WTF (What’s That Food?)

Banana Flower

Banana flower is, as the name suggests, the blossom of a banana tree. If left on the tree, they would eventually develop into bananas. It is largely considered to be a vegetable in many parts of the world, especially Southeast Asia. Bananas themselves are the 4th largest fruit crop worldwide.

Found in many Asian food stores, the flower is frequently used in Filipino, Vietnamese, Indian, and Thai dishes. The flavour is subtle and not sweet like bananas, but more starchy. Banana flowers are considered to be good sources of Vitamins A and C.

The magenta or purple coloured outer leaves, or bracts, can be removed and used as makeshift plates, and the inner leaves, which are a creamy yellow-green, can be, in the simplest of preparation, chopped and used raw in salads. They can also be used in soups, curries, or stir-frys. There are also small flowers tucked inside the leaves, which if left would develop into bananas. These can be eaten with some preparation—the pistil and outer petal need to be removed.

When choosing a banana flower, select a firm one with tightly packed petals that are deep purple-red. If not using immediately, wrap it in a cling film or plastic wrap to keep the petals closed completely and store it in the refrigerator.

About Salty Staff

A diverse group of people, the Salty team works hard each month to bring you great stories about PEI's food and farming community.

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