The tough reddish banana flower bulb has pedals or leaves which are called bracts, which are ideal to use as serving plates.
Beneath these ‘bracts’ or leaves are a row of delicate yellow-tipped florets that can be removed and immediately soaked in acidic water to avoid discoloration and bitterness.
The tough reddish banana flower bulb has pedals or leaves which are called bracts. These can be used as serving plates or just discard. Beneath these ‘bracts’ leaves a row of delicate yellow-tipped florets that can be removed and immediately soaked in acidic water to avoid discoloration and bitterness.
The colorful florets (flowers) are the editable parts and need to be tedious cleaned/prepared by pluck the matchstick-shaped pistil (tough and not pleasant to consume) and the scale-like outermost petal (aka calyx). You have to do this for every floret.
Discard them and soak cleaned florets in acidic water immediately for several hours or overnight to prevent browning and remove the bitterness. Rinse in cold water, drain and squeeze out excess water.
The taste these banana flowers (if not soaked in acidic or salted water) will leave a bitterness on your tongue if eaten raw (or if you are just curious). Once they are soaked & rinsed for awhile and cooked, they won’t be as quite bitter, yet tender.
In Southern Indian cuisine banana flower are commonly used in fritters, stir-fries or fried dishes.
The intermediary leaves, that will be pale pinkish in color, are edible and tender. As you peel away the dark bracts you will reach a white or pale-colored heart once the leaves become too small to peel.
Trim the conical stem and discard. Once sliced in half lengthwise, it will produce a sticky white sap. Immerse it immediately in acidic water and let sit for two hours to remove the bitter sap and avoid browning.
[Banana Facts: Did you know that Innisfail is the Banana Capital of FNQ]
The texture of the tender pale heart reminds me somewhat between tender artichoke leaves and bamboo shoots. For the heart, you use this in soups, salads, curries, stews, and whatever else. Once you chopped the heart up, it looks like this, broken up in chopped florets and pieces:
Banana flowers can be difficult to clean due to the black sap, so to avoid these stains, use any neutral oil and rub it all over your hands before handling the flower. Another way is to rub your hands and knife with lemon juice.
Banana flower recipes
Banana Flower Curry
- Boil the banana flower pieces for 7 minutes. Strain the water.
- Heat 2 tsp coconut oil in a pot, add mustard seeds, cut red chilies and curry leaf.
- Add boiled banana flower, reduce flame and cook covered for 5 minutes.
- Add salt and grated coconut.
- Mix well and serve.