Thursday, October 11, 2012

How to Prepare a Banana Blossom


shredded banana blossom
 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. 

How to Prepare a Banana Blossom 

Ingredients:

1 banana blossom
Juice from 1 lime or lemon, seeds removed
Water
A large container

Method:

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 (for some variety of blossoms it is best to soak overnight).
8) Remove the purple blossom, drain and squeeze out excess water before eating.

banana blossom (banana heart)
banana blossom
banana blossom
banana blossom
my friend Donna clipping off
a banana blossom for me
using her handy tree lopper
--Mahalo, Donna!!
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
--Thanks Paul!
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 (similar to coring cabbage)
remove and discard 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
(use a sharp knife or a slicer)
put the shredded blossom in the water immediately
as you can see when the cut blossom comes in contact
with oxygen too long it will turn black
(it's still edible but doesn't look so appealing)

*The banana blossom is not so readily available in New Hampshire. However, you may be able to find them in some Asian grocers.
*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 (see above) 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 clothes 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. The young tree is edible but that will be covered in another post! My late grandfather enjoyed eating them and he planted this variety of banana trees (see below) on his land. My relatives still can enjoy them to this day.

--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

2 comments:

  1. i always wondered how to make these.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Cindy, thank you for your comment. I hope you try it! Pls let me know what you think and what you have decided to do with it.

    ReplyDelete