One of the wonderful things about living in Turkey is the continuous supply of fresh, flavoursome fruit and vegetables and at this time of year, the markets are full of Turkish bananas or muz.
Sweet and delicate
Turkish bananas are smaller than their European counterparts but what they lack in size they more than make up for in flavour. Imported bananas may be bigger but don’t have the sweet aroma and delicate taste of the indigenous muz
The Anamur banana
Located in southern Mersin province, Anamur district is the country’s largest banana producing area, accounting for around 40% of the country’s banana consumption.
Banana plants love a spot with a view of the sea and banana plantations can be found all along the rugged coastline of Anamur. They like humidity as much as they do warm air which is why they grow well there.
During the month of August, if you happen to be walking by a banana plantation, you will hear strange sounds as the plants ‘give birth’ (also called ‘giving branches by the locals). When the flowers break their outer crust to form banana clusters a noise is heard. The flowers bend towards the ground while the fruit sticks up to form the banana bunch. This process happens so quickly that you can watch it happen.
Health Benefits of Banana Flower
Bananas are good for you but did you know that the banana flower is too?
Banana flowers improve mood and lessen anxiety due to having high magnesium. They serve as anti-depressants without side effects.
They increase the level of haemoglobin in the blood. Good levels of haemoglobin help in carrying nutrients to all the parts of the body efficiently.
Banana flowers contain tannins, acids, flavonoids and other antioxidants which help to counteract free radicals and eliminate the oxidative damage which can lead to cancer and heart disease.
They are good for diabetics as they contain fibres that help to lower blood sugar levels.
Banana flowers are high in antioxidants that fight free radicals, helping to prevent them from attacking healthy cells and causing problems such as heart disease, cancer and skin ageing.
Harvesting takes place between September and February and during this time there is an abundance of bananas at the markets, greengrocers (manav) and being sold at the side of the road.
How do you like yours?
We like our Anamur bananas sliced with locally produced yoghurt, honey and almonds.
Delicious in a smoothie, Turkish style
Use up your ripe bananas in this walnut, date and honey cake
Next time you fancy a banana you’ll have to decide whether it’s the size that matters or small, sweet and tasting of sunshine.
You can always eat two!