By its definition, an obsession requires persistence and repetition which explain my recurring purchase of mini-bananas. On a whim, I picked up a bunch of the green toy looking bananas I usually ignore at the market and I got instantly hooked. It took a few days for them to ripen but when they did and I eventually got to peel them, I noticed the difference immediately.
Bananas are not sustainable fruits as they do not grow in the US (well, there are a few banana trees around LA but you get my point). They originated in South East Asia and are now cultivated all over the tropics with ours, here in California, coming mainly from Ecuador while in NY, they get Caribbean bananas. Either way, flying long distance is involved to satisfy our banana crave.
Although signs of banana plants can be traced back 5,000 years in Papua New Guinea, we have the Portuguese to thank for introducing them to the Western world when they started bringing them back from West Africa. They did not become popular until the late 19th century – even in Victorian times they were not very well-known.
All bananas descend from two plants, Musa Acuminata (commonly known as Cavendish) and Musa Balbisiana (Gros Michel).You and I have never tasted a Gros Michel which, I am told, is the tastier of the two varieties but is also prone to be attacked by a fungus known as Panama disease. So the sturdier plant, Cavendish, took over.
But back to my mini-bananas. I started my research thinking that small bananas were a variety of their own but they are essentially the same Cavendish. They are slightly starchier, with a thinner skin and much sweeter, not to mention the perfect size for a smoothie or to top a bowl of cereals. Their nutritional properties are also similar but with a higher concentration of vitamin B.
Whatever the case, I am addicted. My new mini friends are so easy to pop into my mouth as a snack, without committing to a whole giant fruit.