Saturday, March 21, 2009

Banana Season

It seems like just yesterday that we harvested our first racim of bananas from the palm tree in our back yard, and here already is the second. We cut the racim just as the first of the bottom bananas were ripening, and hung it in our dining area. Before I knew it, I was hearing the "thump, thump, thump" of ripe bananas hitting the floor and I was not even barely prepared to use them up. We gave away the first few dozens as the penkos ripened, and by then, I had given the whole banana thing some thought and was ready to start cooking.

Meanwhile, growing my own bananas has brought questions to mind. For example, how many bananas are there in a penko? (A penko is what the local people call one group of bananas on the stem). How many penkos are there on a stem? Does that type of banana always have that same number of penkos and bananas?

This stem had 9 penkos (you can note from this photo that the 9th penko of bananas was stunted and green ... they never did develop) and exactly 17 bananas in EVERY penko. I asked around, but nobody could tell me if this type of banana palm would aways produce stems of 9 penkos with 17 bananas in each. There was a general consensus that other types of bananas (like manzanitas or majunches) would have a different number of both penkos and bananas per penko ... I will now be paying a lot of attention when I have the opportunity to observe a cut banana stem.


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