Tuesday 18 November 2014
Two of our banana trees at the back are currently fruiting.
We have decided to allow them to ripen naturally before harvesting because they will be sweeter that way.
The grove started with a young plant that was a gift from our brother.
Considering that Yaya never planned to plant bananas at the back, that grove has been very productive over the past two years.
We have had three humongous stems of fruits and 'hearts' although this time around, Yaya decided not to harvest the 'hearts' because we see a couple of beautiful tiny birds drinking nectar off them every morning.
I love the banana 'hearts' which we would normally just boil in salted water and eat with rice as 'ulam'.
Usually Yaya would prepare a 'sambal' dip to eat with a variety of 'ulam' that include fresh long beans, steamed okra, 'pucuk ubi', 'pegaga', 'cekur', or just store-bought vegetables prepared raw or steamed, but I prefer to eat them without the dip.
The first 2 banana fruit stems we harvested from the grove were humongous giants that we couldn't really recognise as a specific variety that we normally find - you know, not 'pisang embun' or 'pisang raja', or 'pisang Cavendish' and certainly not 'pisang emas'.
Al took one look at them and refused to eat them even though he loves bananas, his reason was they were 'mutated giant bananas that may be alive'.
The imagination of children can be quite trying sometimes ...
But the third bunch we harvested were smaller, and we actually managed to polish them off within 3 days.
The leaves are plentiful too, useful for a variety of things in the kitchen, such as wrapping fish before grilling them, forming a base to steam 'pau', lining the bowl of nasi lemak, and wrapping 'kueh' for steaming.
Some of those who visited us were amazed to see a grove of banana trees in our tiny backyard, among other plants, but honestly, they are really good as not only they provide fruits and leaves, but also shade.
My room, which is at the back of the house, is cooler now that some of the leaf steams have grown tall enough to reach the upper level of the house.
At night, they move back and forth in the night breeze to create eerie shadows on the windows, and being the scaredy cat that I am, I always draw down the curtains nowadays.