Monday, January 10, 2011

AgBC's: B is for Banana

Ever wonder what fruit Americans love best? You guessed it, the banana!

Cool banana fact: Did you know banana's don't grow on trees? What we commonly refer to as banana trees are actually herbs. But these herbs up to 25-feet high!

Bananas grow in bunches, and a bunch of bananas is called a hand with each banana called a finger. One banana plant can have as many as 100 fingers! What makes bananas different is that though most fruit is picked when it's ready to eat, bananas are cut down when they're still green. Bananas actually ripe off the plan...they turn yellow and become tasty and sweet.

There are actually hundreds of kinds of bananas...some even have red skin! Others are small chubby bananas called dwarf bananas. The banana apple has an apple-like taste. Plantains, which are not sweet, are used for cooking. But in the United States, the most popular kind of banana is the yello Cavendish.

Want to try a new banana treat? Try Monkeys in a Blanket!

For each person, you will need the following ingredients:
  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread
  • Honey or fruit-sweetend preserves
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • cinnamon
  1. Set the oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the crust off of the bread and flatten the bread, wither with a rolling pin or by "smooshing" it flat with your hand.
  3. Spread a thin layer of honey or preserves on the bread.
  4. Place the banana half on the bread, then roll the bread over the banana so that it is completely covered.
  5. Place the butter in a baking dish and put it in the oven or toaster oven to melt.
  6. Roll each "Monkey in a Blanket" in the melted butter, then put them side by side in the baking pan.
  7. Sprinkle with a lot of cinnamon.
  8. Bake 15 minutes until the outside is crisp and the banana is hot and creamy. Let the "monkey" cool down a little before you take a bike.
Time for a little learning: Why not make a chart of the most popular fruits eaten in the United States?
We mentioned bananas are the most popular, with the average American eating 26 pounds of bananas a year....that's an average of 150 bananas! The next most popular fruits are apples, watermelons, oranges and cantaloupes. Do some research to find out how much Americans eat of the other fruits and graph your results.

This series in inspired by the book The ABC's of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond, which is also where the Monkeys in a Blanket recipe is from.

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