Friday, 27 November 2015


Banana is a tropical fruit available all throughout the year. With it's high nutritive value clubbed with a relatively low cost, the fruit finds itself upon most peoples' grocery lists. A bunch of bananas is called a hand while individual ones are called fingers. Botanically, a banana is a berry...yes, that's true! There's approximately 70 varieties of this berry, relished by people around the globe. The fruit has universal appeal and is a wonderful source of energy on the run.

India being one of the leading producers of banana, the berry has religious importance in Hindu culture. The fruit is offered as prasad (प्रसाद) or naivedya (नेवेद्य) to the deity.The trunks of Banana plant (केळ्याचे खुंट) are used in various rituals. They are placed at the main entrance or around the four corners of a 'chaurang' (चौरंग), a wooden square stool on which a pooja is performed.

The flowers, fruit and leaves have culinary uses. Kelful, or the banana flower is used to make a special bhaaji which is a delicacy. These days, not many people cook it since it's very time consuming and tedious to pick up the tiny flowerets. In olden times, food was always served on banana leaves, which is still a prevalent practice during rituals. Fresh, steaming hot food releases certain enzymes within the leaf which helps digestion. Banana leaves are also known to have antioxidant properties. After the meal, the banana leaves would then be served to the family's cattle.

Bananas are very versatile and are used across an array of dishes. Banana halwa, sheera, shikaran (शिकरण) and ghavan(Pancakes) made from kelyacha peeth (banana flour) are popular traditional banana recipes along with the addition of cakes and smoothies that are relished by a large number of families.
Nutritionally,the berries are a good source of carbohydrates, potassium (which gives it it's characteristic 'aroma'), magnesium and Vitamins B6 and C, which improve memory. Potassium is beneficial to the cardiovascular system, hence protects the heart. The presence of pectin in Banana aids bowel movement preventing constipation. A banana face pack also prevents wrinkles. Plus, you can lick it off your face later!

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