Banana Blossoms or Banana Flowers are the flowers hidden beneath each banana heart leaves. Each peeled purple-colored tear shaped petal from the banana heart has a cluster of small vertical cream colored flowers with a yellow tip that are typically eaten in many Asian dishes, added into salads, soups, stews, meaty dishes, and in recent years, used as a plant-based substitute for seafood, especially as an alternative to fish due to its natural fibrous but still soft texture. How else are they used and what makes them so special?
Banana Blossoms Introduction
What do banana flowers look like? These are hermaphrodite flowers, meaning it has both the male and female organs that then develop into the fruit. These are not to be confused with the banana heart or ‘Puso ng Saging’ in Tagalog. The flowers are the little elongated white thin flowers with yellow tips that look like small petals clustered in the middle of each purple ‘leaf’ or ‘petal’ peeled from the heart.
After seeing these small clusters of unusual flowers one question many have asked is “Can you eat banana flowers?” or “Are banana flowers really edible?” These, unlike their fruit counterpart do not share the same flavor, while it has a sweet scent and might taste subtly sweet, are similar to tofu, bamboo shoots, or avocados in taste that they are bland and can easily follow the flavors of the dish where it’s mixed into. Making these a great addition to use to add protein and fiber into any dish you make. To clean, the flowers are separated from the cluster, opened to find a long ‘stick’ with a bulb-like head that will need to be removed, and a small paper-like film on the bottom side that will also be taken out as well. Then the flower is ready to be used.
You can also find them in “dried banana blossom” form that are made by stripping the flowers apart, cleaned, are placed inside a cheesecloth, boiled in a solution for a few minutes before straining, then kept soaked in a soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar mix overnight. Drained and spread outside under the sun to dry, before being packed in plastic bags. You can find these dried flowers sold in your local Asian grocery store or dry markets in most Asian countries dehydrated by soaking it back in water for a few minutes to an hour, then adding them into stewed dishes like adobo, paksiw and many saltier dishes.
How to cook banana flowers? With the recent rise of vegan and vegetarian food, the use of fibrous fruits and vegetables have found their way to the top like jackfruit being used as a substitute to meat for BBQ pulled pork, and for banana blossoms, these have been used to replace many seafoods, namely fishes. The banana blossom fish recipes can come in the form of fish nuggets, battered fish for vegan fish and chips, breaded fish and many more. Though many western versions using this flowers have been popping up. This ingredient have been used by many Asian countries for many years, you can find them added or made into: banana flower salads found in Cambodia, or the Indonesian banana blossom curry, or into savory main dishes like the meaty Pork Humba and Ginataang Puso ng Saging (banana heart stewed in a savory and spicy coconut sauce) in the Philippines.
- Dried banana blossoms substitutes: some alternatives used are bamboo shoots which have an almost similar texture, lesser used options are the palm heart, Chinese artichoke, green papaya, or cucumber root.
- Where to buy dried banana blossoms? You can find them in most dry markets in Asia, sometimes in some grocery stores. But outside, or around western counties they can be found sold frozen or canned in your usual grocery stores in the Asian aisle. Recently these can be found in online stores.
- How to store banana blossoms? While you can keep canned banana blossoms in an airtight container with the canned liquid it comes with in the freezer to keep frozen and then defrosted when needed. For fresh flowers which are easily perishable they are best sealed in a package or ziplock bag and kept in the freezer to keep these from browning.
Banana Flower Benefits and Side Effects:
Banana blossom calories count to around 82 calories for 1 serving of around 100 grams. Some banana blossom nutrition facts include being able to provide the daily amino acid requirement, being rich in potassium, Vitamin A, C, and E, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, zinc, catechin and quercetin that helps with many bodily functions including:
- This low calorie high in fiber ingredient is great for overcoming anemia and especially diabetes. These are rich in soluble fibers making them not only a good choice for a healthy weight loss as it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, and prevents constipation.
- The amount of fiber you intake also helps keep from getting type-2 diabetes. Improves gut health that will keep you from having stomach cancer, as well as helps with menstrual pains.
- These do not only keep blood sugars regular but assists with the production of red blood cells making banana flowers great for those with high blood pressure. It also contains the natural plant compound ‘sterols’ that reduces cholesterol levels.
- A good source of antioxidants that can help heal the body faster and fight free radicals or toxins in the body. It keeps the bones healthy to avoid aging problems like osteoporosis.
- Great for pregnant women. These eaten in moderation help increase milk supply, keep the uterus healthy, and cure excessive bleeding.
- Treats infections due to possessing ethanol flowers that keeps from bacterial growth. These greatly help with malaria parasites.
- Banana flower side effects: One should take note that if you are allergic to bananas or any fruit or vegetable in the same banana family you should not consume banana flowers. If so they can lead to diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Do consult a doctor if any problem arises.
Banana Blossoms recipes (Banana Flower recipes):
Do you eat banana flowers? While many outside Asian countries might not know how to enjoy these delectable yellow blossoms. The recent interest in different or rare delicacies have found much success especially due to social media, adding the fact that these are good for you make them much more interesting!
‘How to prepare banana flowers’ or ‘How to cook banana blossoms’? There are a number of ways to prepare these, from the recent boom of vegan dishes here are some recipes Yummy Kitchen has to help you add these pretty but still healthy little flowers into your diet: