Bananas are good for mental and physical health, and they provide energy… but they also contribute largely to the island’s economy! Focus on a fruit of many virtues.
The banana was brought to Martinique by the Portuguese in the 16th century. But it was of little importance in Guadeloupe until the 20th century. In 1928, a cyclone ravaged the coffee and cocoa plantations. That is when the first banana trees were planted, but it was in the sixties that banana production developed significantly.
The banana “tree” is in fact a giant herbaceous plant. Once plant – ed, the young banana plant takes nine months to reach full fruit-producing maturity. When it does, the banana flower, or “popotte” emerges, followed by a bunch of bananas which will be picked nine weeks later. In the meantime, biodegradable plastic bags are used to protect the bananas from birds and insects. The fruit becomes ripe for consumption three to four weeks after being harvested.
Bananas are used in numerous West Indian dishes, such as chicken colombo (plantain) and pâtés, or incorporat – ed into cheese-topped dishes cooked in the oven, made into crisps or Spanish-style fritters, or even blended into cocktails.
Nowadays, banana growers are taking care to limit the use of pesticides. More and more, they are committing to organic and sustainable methods. Good to know: banana skins make an excellent fertilizer.