Monday, December 14, 2009

Banana and plantains

Banana and plantains
Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) are rhizomatous, giant perennial herbs cultivated throughout the tropics for their parthenocarpics, seedless fruits.

They are the fourth most important global food commodity after rice, wheat and milk in terms of gross value of production.

During 1997, their annual world production was estimated to be around 88.47 m tones.

The banana fruits are an important export from South and Central America and the West Indies to North America and Europe, with world trade amounting to nearly 20 m tones annually.

Plantains represent 33% of the world production of Musa and provide up to 25% of the daily carbohydrate intake for 72 millions Africans.

Bananas and plantains thrive in a wide range of environments between 30 degree North and South of the equator.

Bananas are chiefly eaten raw as a dessert fruit, because in the ripe state they are sweet and easily digested. Plantain fruits are unpalatable when raw and must be cooked, fried, pounded, roasted or boiled before consumption.

Expert has highlighted the apparent ambiguity in using the word “Plantain”. To many, plantain implies a cooking banana but in Spanish the word can also be used to mean dessert forms.

In Hindi too, there is no spate world to distinguish cooking starchy cultivars. Plantains are thus, referred to as cooking bananas.

There appears to be no accepted botanical distinction between starchy types, that have to be cooked and sweeter types that can be eaten raw.

Edible bananas are commonly divided into dessert bananas cooking bananas and plantains and bear bananas.

Dessert bananas are palatable when eaten raw at ripening, while other bananas are generally processed by cooking or fermentation before consumption.

The plantains are specific type of cooking banana whose remains starchy at ripening. They are characterized by the orange yellow color of the compound tepal in the flowers and the orange yellow color of the fruit pulp at ripeness.

Fruits are long and slender angular-to-pointed and unpalatable when raw.

Seaths of plantains are slightly waxy, petiole margins are incurved and petiole bases are clasping.

The lamina bases are rounded and peduncles are slightly hairy. Basal flowers are biseriate and parthenocarpics. The fruit skin is glabrous and fruit are indehiscent.
Banana and plantains

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