Everyone here has a set of them: banana clothes.
Usually, they didn’t start out as work clothes. I’ve seen some very nice blouses re-purposed for banana work. Imagine you’re on your way out the door to an event, or you’ve just come home from work, and you notice yellow bananas on one of your trees. “I can be careful this time,” you say. How hard could it be not to get a single drop of banana juice on me? Yeah. That’s how you get banana clothes. Some people even have banana underwear, because banana juice can and will soak through, and it stains whatever it touches.
The problem is twofold: banana juice stains, and bananas are tempting for passers by. If your banana trees are right out in the open, you might get anxious leaving them stridently begging to be picked. Not only are they a treat for people, they are a fragrant magnet for winged and pawed critters.
Clearly, if you want to enjoy them yourself, you need to stay on top of your assets. When you see them turning yellow, you must react. From the time you notice the first yellow banana, you might have only half a day before they’re ripe enough to start falling from the tree.
Harvesting bananas doesn’t take more than a few minutes, either. You find your machete, whack down the tree, cut your banana bunch off and haul it off to safety. Bam! Five minutes’ work, and you’re back on your way to whatever you were doing.
Now you see the temptation to act.
The trouble is the clear liquid that splattered everywhere when you hit the tree, or that you brushed up against when you heaved the trunk into the jungle; that clear liquid will turn into dark bloodstains on everything it touched.
What I get is well worth the sacrifice: hands and hands of the sweetest bananas, enough for the whole neighborhood.
On the Big Island, there are at least 50 varieties of banana trees. The most common bananas on the island are called Apple Bananas. With a slight citrus tang and firm texture, their plump bodies are about four inches long. They taste like the joyous smile of a sun ray. Some of my trees will yield bunches of these babies three feet long.
My friend Mary, up the street, has Ice Cream Bananas in her yard. Stouter fruit with a sweeter hint of vanilla, they are a treat.
Still, for eating every day, I’m sold on apple bananas. And for banana bread, they are da kine.
Banana Bread Recipe, makes 1 loaf
Bake at 325 degrees, about 50 minutes, in a buttered pan
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 cup Butter
Whisk together and stir in:
- 1/4 cup Oil
- 1 Large Egg
- 1/6 cup Milk
- 1 1/2 cup Bananas, mashed
Sift together and stir in lightly:
- 2 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Oscar, over at Fruit Lover’s Nursery on The Big Island, graciously allowed me to use his banana poster to show off our good fortune.
Pictures by Harry Durgin at Island Aina Photography
Recipe Credit: Mountain Garden Restaurant, Ouray, Colorado