From Market Fruit Fair dot com: Generally, it is agreed that bananas originated in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific around 8000 to 5000 BC. Bananas are believed to have been the world's first cultivated fruit. From Southeast Asia, the fruit was brought west by Arab conquerors and then carried to the New World by explorers and missionaries.
We've got bananas here in Bali that are just like the ones in the States, but we rarely get them. There are a number of other varieties we can get here (and a lot that are available elsewhere that we don't have). They almost always come Right now we've got some medium size, fat, totally yellow that are not quite ripe. Our favorites are the ones that are green when ripe and turn black as they get overripe. Overripe bananas are still good though sometimes challenging. Some have thinner peel and as they get riper they absorb the peel so much that sometimes it just has to be scraped off. All of them are good boiled or friend which we tend not to do but I'll fry the super over-ripe ones, including ones that are black and mushy. They're great fried. The finger size ones are almost always good. I open them by cutting them in half lengthwise then pulling back the half peel.
Every once in a while we'll receive a bunch as a gift from a Balinese person. Bunches are like branches with what are called hands in the trade in which the bananas are called fingers and they grow off of hands which make up the bunch (I don't know what they're called here). Usually we just get a hand, sometimes asking for it to be cut in two so we can have half a hand.
We both tend to eat a banana every day. I usually put sesame or peanut butter on mine. Local people here tend to fry and boil bananas and use them to make sweets and so forth. So most bananas here are sold for cooking or processing and often they're not near ready to eat. At the great Sindhu market we used to live near, the banana vender stood behind a long table covered with different types of bananas. He's the one who turned me on to green bananas that are ready to eat. I didn't know what was what on his table so I'd just ask if he had anything for us and sometimes with a full table he'd say no - it was all bananas that weren't so good if not cooked. Sometimes he'd go back to his truck and find something for us. We were on the road a year ago going up north and I asked our driver to stop at a banana stand that had all sorts of bananas inside and out but nothing that I could eat right then.
If we only have bananas that are not ripe yet, we put them in a closed plastic bag because they make a gas that ripens them. If we have one overripe one and put it in with the unripe ones, that speeds the process up a good deal. When I was buying produce for the SF Zen Center's Green Gulch Green Grocer, I'd get a few boxes at a time at the South San Francisco produce market (going there as early as three or four in the morning. I've seen a whole cool room there full of boxes of unripe bananas that they'd ripen with one box of way over-ripe ones. That gas can also be bought in canisters.
Thank you bananas.