Banana blossom, also known as banana heart is the purple tear-shaped fruit that is usually found hanging off a banana cluster. In Vietnam the finely shredded banana blossom is used in salads and to garnish and eaten in soups. It has a mild flavor and I have used them in stir fried dishes in the past. My mother said she has never heard of anyone stir frying banana blossoms before. I told her neither had I! I had some left over and did not want to waste it. The key is that the shredded blossom must be soaked in lemon or lime water to rid of the sap, bitterness and to prevent it from turning black. When the cut blossom is oxide with the air it will turn black immediately.
1 banana blossom
Juice from 1 lime or lemon, seeds removed
A large container
1) Fill a large container with cold water and lime or lemon juice.
2) Peel off 3-4 outer layers of the banana blossom bracts (or petals).
3) Cut the blossom in half lengthwise.
4) Core each blossom half.
5) Thinly sliced each blossom half and put in water immediately.
6) Repeat the same step for the other blossom half.
7) Let soak for 4-6 hours or overnight (best to soak overnight).
8) Remove the purple blossom, drain and squeeze out excess water before eating.
|young banana blossom (banana heart)|
|my friend Donna clipping off|
a banana blossom for me
using her handy tree lopper
|up close with the tree lopper|
I want one that is collapsible
so I take it hiking in the tropical wilderness!
|my husband cutting down a blossom for me|
|my prep work|
lucky for me I had two types of blossom
I used the banana leaves for my work area
(you can roll up your trash and compose it later)
|remove the outer bracts until you come to |
the tight shape blossom, wash well
|cut the blossom in half lengthwise|
|cut into the core in a "V" shape|
|remove the core and put the one|
you are not using in the water immediately
(to prevent oxidation)
|slice the blossom as finely as you can|
(you may use a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer)
put the shredded blossom in the water immediately
|as you can see when the cut blossom comes in contact |
with oxygen it will turn black
(it's still edible but doesn't look so appealing)
*I prefer to soak the blossom overnight for convenience and best result.
*Save the nicest looking outer blossom bracts in the refrigerator to use as bowls or for decorative use later. The last image has two blossom bracts that I saved.
*If you are using the banana leaves as your work area (as pictured above), make sure to clean them by wiping the leaves gently with a wet cloth or paper towel.
*The stain from the banana sap is difficult to remove. Avoid wearing your best outfit for this procedure!
**addendum: Below are a few updated photos taken in Vietnam (2015). These banana blossoms came from a banana variety (known as chuoi hot in Vietnamese) that has black round seeds that resemble whole black peppercorns (found inside the flesh). People in Vietnam eat the raw green banana slices wrap in noodles and salads. The ripe bananas are edible but they are not so popular. My late grandfather liked them. I ate them as a child but have not had any as an adult.
|--banana variety with black seeds inside|
known as chuoi hot in Vietnamese
|--beautiful banana blossoms|
|--my grandmother holding the|
banana blossoms harvested from her back yard
|--peel off and discard the outer layers|
|--these are so tender I did not have to core them|
--the thinner you slice these the better
|--these banana blossoms do not get dark in color|
when exposed to air like the other types
--you may add lime or lemon juice
to the water if interested
|--just need to squeeze out excess water and then they are ready to eat|