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PAM SAYS: Bananas 101

Bananas

What do you do with a stalk of bananas, all ripening at the same time? This was a question that I pondered when we sailed around the world and either purchased, for pennies really, or were given entire stalks of green bananas. Anywhere tropical, the West Indies, South Pacific, Indonesia, even Madagascar, and other wonderful warm places, had the stalks of bananas but no bunches of bananas.

Of course another cruising lady, specifically in Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, saw me standing on deck as a wonderful friend we had made ashore brought me a present of a huge stalk of green bananas. Oh dear, there the stalk sat on my deck, slowly oozing brown stains on my clean deck.

Thank goodness for the women who was on a boat anchored just up wind of us in the narrow channel anchorage in Aitutaki. Over she came in her dinghy and said, “Quick, get them off the deck, go grab a line and hang them somewhere over the water!” Responding as quickly as I could I brought a piece of line, we tied it to the top of the stalk which was really heavy, and got a halyard to start hoisting away. But, before we tied the stalk off to the outboard motor davit hanging over the water, she said, “Dip them in the water and let all the bugs drown first.” If I hadn’t done that quickly, well, I would have had a million new crew members hiding out on KANDARIK!

After the drowning, we tied off the stalk and now we had a few days wait until all the bananas ripened. Happily I was taught the neatest way to handle this situation. And what a great idea and how delicious.

Take each banana and quarter it length wise. Get as many flat baking pans as you have, or just tin foil wrapped around something flat with a lot of flat surface like a centerboard for our dinghy, and a wind vane for our self steering, anything flat! Put the quartered ripe bananas on the flat boards but not on top of each other, each one with its own little space. Then put the boards, loaded with banana slices out on the deck but in the shade of your awning. Let the air and wind do the work for you. Next day, turn over the drying banana slices, wait another day as they shrink up into dry delicately delicious dried bananas, kind of like dried apricots. Harvest your banana candy and stow in zip lock bags. But be warned, they are so good, you may eat all of them in the same day!!!!!

They can last a long time, but are so good for snacks they disappear very quickly. Mother nature at work again to give us cruisers the best that life has to give!!!!

-Pam