Jamaican Green Bananas can be found throughout the island but more so in eastern parishes such as St Mary and Portland that enjoy higher levels of rainfall. The also form an important part of the Island’s food export market.
Green bananas are ideal for cooking when they are not fully fit resulting in a tender melt-in-the-mouth taste. A fit green banana will look yellowish when peeled while the ideal cooking banana will appear white when peeled.
Jamaicans serve cooked green bananas with steamed vegetables or ackee and salt fish at breakfast. They are also served as part of lunch or dinner with other ground provisions such as yam or sweet potato.
The peeling of the green bananas can be a challenge if you do not know where to start but once you get the hang of it, it pretty easy. Handling of green banana can be quite sticky as the juices that drains from the cut green fruit will stick to your hands and will permanently stain fabric.
The best way I have found of handling green bananas is to immerse them in cold water while peeling. After peeling wash hands with soap to remove any remnants of sticky film from the banana peel.
Dice the green bananas down the side between skin and fruit (see picture) and then pry skin away by holding with one hand and using the thumb to pry the skin away.
It takes a little practice but once you can remove the whole of the skin without breaking the banana, then you know you’ve got it.
Hold with one hand and strip away the skin with the thumb of the other.
Place the peeled bananas in a pan/pot of boiling water, add salt to taste and a teaspoon of oil.
If you happen to be cooking yam, sweet potato and dumplings at the same time, everything can be cooked in the same pan with the green bananas at the top.
Leave to cook on medium heat for about 15/20 mins.
To avoid the peeling challenge, some people cook green bananas in the skin which is then removed before serving.
When cooked this way the taste and the colour of the cooked banana differ from the peeled green banana.
With butter beans, egg noodles and vegetable stirfry
Green bananas can also be grated to make, porridge or mixed with flour to make delicious dumplings.
They are also used to make banana chips - similar to potato chips.