Our great-grandparents grew up eating not the Cavendish but the Gros Michel banana, a variety that everyone agreed was tastier. But starting in the early 1900s, banana plantations were invaded by a fungus called Panama disease and vanished one by one. Forest would be cleared for new banana fields, and healthy fruit would grow there for a while, but eventually succumb. By 1960, the Gros Michel was essentially extinct and the banana industry nearly bankrupt. It was saved at the last minute by the Cavendish, a Chinese variety that had been considered something close to junk: inferior in taste, easy to bruise (and therefore hard to ship) and too small to appeal to consumers. But it did resist the blight.
The Ducasse is also known as a "sugar banana" because of its sweet taste. Its exquisite flavour makes the Ducasse a great addition to fruit salads, cakes and muffins. The Ducasse is a fantastic banana for cooking as it does not brown when cut and remains firm when cooked. It is a very useful banana for once a week shoppers as it remains good to eat for longer. Ducasse self ripens naturally.
Cavendish is a large dessert banana that can be can be eaten fresh at various stages of ripeness, cooked or dried. Cavendish is the world’s best known eating banana and accounts for approximately 85% of Australia’s banana production, with more than one billion eaten each year.
The true origin of Bananas is found in the region of Malaysia. By way of curious visitors, bananas traveled from there to India where they are mentioned in the Buddhist Pali writings dating back to the 6th century BCE. In his campaign in India in 327 BCE, Alexander the Great relished his first taste of the banana, an usual fruit he saw growing on tall trees. He is even credited with bringing the banana from India to the Western world.
Beginning in 650 CE Islamic warriors traveled into Africa and were actively engaged in the slave trade. Along with the thriving business in slave trading, the Arabs were successful in trading ivory along with abundant crops of bananas. Through their numerous travels westward via the slave trade, bananas eventually reached Guinea, a small area along the West Coast of Africa.
Bananas are one of the few fruits that ripen best off the plant. If left on the plant, the fruit splits open and the pulp has a "cottony" texture and flavor. Even in tropical growing areas, bananas for domestic consumption are cut green and stored in moist shady places to ripen slowly.
Banana plants are the largest plants on earth without a woody stem. They are actually giant herbs of the same family as lilies, orchids and palms.
The word banana is derived from the Arab word 'banan', which means finger.
No other fruit contains more digestible carbohydrates than bananas. This is advantageous, because the body burns off calories from carbohydrate more easily and quickly than calories from fat or protein.
A 100-gram serving of banana contains 18 percent of the daily value of vitamin B-6, 15 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, 5 percent of the daily value of folate, 4 percent of the daily value of riboflavin, 2 percent of the daily value of niacin and pantothenic acid, 2 percent of the daily value of thiamine, 1 percent of the daily value of vitamin A and vitamin K, and less than 1 percent of the daily value of vitamin E. This serving also provides 10 percent of the daily value of potassium, 7 percent of the daily value of magnesium, 4 percent of the daily value of copper, 2 percent the daily value of phosphorus, and 1 percent of the daily value of calcium, iron, zinc and selenium.