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Banana – food facts

Americans eat more bananas than any other fruit. Almost all commercial banana plants are clones of one another and most originate from a single plant in Southeast Asia. Our common bananas are types of plantain.

The North American banana industry sources its bananas from tropical regions such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama.

Varieties: the fruit is variable in size, color, and firmness

Related: Avocado, kiwi, chesnut

Harvest season in the LV: imported from tropical regions- but they are available throughout the year and do not have a growing season

Growing Conditions: They do not grow on trees, rather, they grow from a root structure that produces an above ground stem. The plant where they grow is the largest herbaceous flowering plant in the world.

Pollination: The flowers of cultivated bananas do not require pollination. The wild banana species do need pollination and their seeds need to be spread. Bats feeding on nectar pollinate species of wild bananas that have drooping or horizontal flowers, while birds pollinate the upright flowers of ornamental bananas.

Cooking/Preparation required: Best raw, can be dried and used in cooking. Popular uses include eating raw, used in pancakes, pudding, yogurt, fruit salad.

Fertilizers or pesticides: Bananas should be grown without pesticides; however, pesticides and fertilizers are widely used by banana plantationss. One toxic insecticide widely used in banana production is chlorpyrifos, a potent neurotoxicant. Chlorpyrifos can harm workers, communities and the environment. Bananas are not on either the ‘Dirty Dozen’ or the ‘Clean Fifteen’ list.

Nutrients: Rich in potassium, contain almost no fat, high in vitamin B6 and fiber.

Health considerations: Low in calories. Bananas are the only fruit to contain the amino acid, trytophan plus Vitamin B6, which help the body produce seratonin — ultimately cheering you up. Lower risk of heart attacks and strokes as well as decrease risk for cancer.

NOTE:Nutrient content can vary greatly depending on soil conditions, with organic methods and a soil rich in organic matter generally producing the best results.

‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Clean Fifteen’ lists do not necessarily apply to produce grown on local farms — you need to check with the farmer to determine if and when any fertilizers or pesticides were applied.