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Bananas grow on giant plants, which some call banana trees. But-they aren't trees at all they don't even have a trunk. After planting, the plant grows to the height of a man in 3 months. In another 3 months, it is twice the size of a man. Once the plant has reached its full height, it devotes its energy to making its one and only bunch of bananas. That's right, banana trees only produce one bunch of bananas in their short life span. However, one bunch can contain anywhere from 90-400 bananas. Now that bunch is a monkey's dream. After the bananas ripen, the banana plant is cut down and another grows in its place. The total life span of the banana tree is about 15 months.
During the ripening process, the starch in the banana is converted to sugar. The riper (more yellow) the banana is the sweeter it will taste. When making banana breads, muffins, or cakes, you want to have the bananas as ripe as possible to get full sweetness. Many cooks use bananas that have ripened so much that they are black. These are really sweet, but also really mushy-great for baked goods.

This Bananas recipe is from the Food Facts and History Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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