Our favourite fruit

Bananas are the most popular fresh fruit, with around 17 million tonnes of bananas exported globally each year. In the world today, there are approximately 1000 different types of banana plants. However, most of these are unpalatable. Almost all the bananas you can find in supermarkets are therefore a variety known as the Cavendish variety.

 

Contrary to popular belief, the banana plant is not a tree but an herb. Along that theme, the banana itself is actually a berry. A bunch of bananas, made up of 10 to 25 bananas, is called a ‘hand’ and a single banana is referred to as a ‘finger’. The banana plant (or herb) can grow up to the impressive height of 26 feet. Along with plantains, it belongs the Musaceae family of plants.

 

In the UK alone we eat 5 billion bananas a year, with the average person consuming 10kg (100 bananas!). Whilst an important fruit for the British, Uganda actually has the highest average per person consumption of bananas; 500 pounds of banana are eaten per person per year (around 170 bananas). In fact, the Ugandan word matooke means both “food” and “banana.”

 

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A woman selling bananas in the Ugandan Capital, Kampala (https://echwaluphotography.wordpress.com/page/6/)