Banana, Native Fruit
Banana is a fruit that is native to India, known as Kadhali Phalam in Samskrt. It is looked up to as one of the 3 important fruits in this land, the other two being mango and jackfruit.
The origins of the fruit can be traced to the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats of southern India, and also to the North Eastern hills of India. The traditional variety of banana in the slopes of Eastern and Western Ghats hills is locally known as Malai Vazai, meaning ‘Hill Banana’.
A speciality of Banana
The speciality of banana plant gives forth fruit, flower and small black seeds, the offspring of the banana plant does not come from its seed, but from the side root of shoots, which give birth to sapling banana plants.
There are many variants in banana, each with its unique taste and specific nutrient.
A Banana Farm
In India, banana has been widely consumed from time immemorial, be it in ritual prayers or in daily food. Every part of the banana plant is used by the community.
Sanctity of Banana
For any auspicious function, a full grown banana plant is tied in front of the function hall.
In Ayudha Puja and Sarasvati Puja functions, it is the tying of banana sapling that brings in a sense of auspiciousness to the puja mantap.
In any auspicious occasion, when lunch is served, a full native banana is served first for the auspicious beginning of the meal.
As a Plate
There is a padathi, practice, to serve food on a banana leaf. The banana leaf is used as a plate for serving food. It is considered a healthy and auspicious way of eating. Serving food to guest, on a banana leaf is regarded as being second best, after a gold plate. That is the exalted status given to serving food on a banana leaf.
Food served on Banana Leaf
Banana stem sheath layer used as a plate in Assam
Food items, Delicacies
The inside stem of a banana is a delicious food item. In South India, Vazha Thandu is a delicious food item.
Many Indian delicacies sweets are made with banana fruit.
The banana flower is also a delicacy, a vegetable used to make vada and other delicacies.
Raw banana is a delicious vegetable.
Palani Panchamritham is a temple prasad of the famous Palani Karthikeya temple in west Tamil Nadu. This fruit salad from jaggery fruit dish has innate capacity to stay fresh for many days. This is attributed to Sirumalai Banana which has got preservative and curavative properties. Siru means small, Malai means hill.
Like this, with each variety of banana, a different delicacy is made. In Kerala, many delicacies are made with Nendram Banana.
All over India, different varieties of kheer, payasam is made from banana base.
Kesari, a sweet dish is also made with banana.
Like this, the dishes that can be made with banana are endless.
String for flowers
The bark of a banana stem is used for packing. It is also used as a string for stringing flowers.
One of the essentials for all creatures is the potassium level which the Bananas provide us in abundance.
When we serve hot food, especially hot boiled rice on a fresh washed banana leaf, the steaming boiled rice takes in the potassium on the surface of the banana leaf.
The intake of this fruit is naturally nutritious.
The root of a banana plant attracts micro-organisms which act on dirty water and cleanse the water.
This natural process of cleansing the water is now given the term Root Zone Treatment (RTZ).
Which is why, banana plants are traditionally planted in the backyard of houses, so that waste water is streamed to the roots of the banana plants, to be naturally cleansed.
An environment friendly practice of understanding Nature and putting this understanding into practice!
Bio friendly Packing material
Banana leaves have been also traditionally used as a packing material for packing fruits, flowers and other items.
It is a bio-degradeable environment friendly packing material as opposed to plastics which are littered all over the ground. They add manure to soil when decomposed. In contrast, today’s packing materials add poison to the soil when they decompose.
Thus, we see that every part of the banana plant has been used by the locals through the ages.
In equatorial America and Africa, many small republics were dependent upon banana productions and exports were controlled by banana mafia because of which frequent regime changes happened. They came to be derisively referred to as banana republics.
Banana in West
In the western countries, in Europe and USA, where banana was not a native brand, this fruit had to be advertised to be made popular, after which farmlands were created in equatorial Africa and America, to feed the consumption pattern.
Banana Advertisement in Panama
Tropical Banana Company Calendar
World Banana Day is observed every year on February 21st to promote the popularity of banana.
Natural Product in India
In stark contrast, we don’t find advertisements of banana in India, for, it has been a natural product and every part of the plant is consumed and used in this land.
Everyday is a Banana Day in this land!