Bermuda bananas, as they are fondly known to locals, have become an essential part of the Bermudian diet and culture, thanks to their sweet flavour and versatility in cooking. Technically called Dwarf Cavendish bananas, the fruit was originally introduced to the island at the time of the first settlement, in 1616. Over the last 400 years, they have continuously been used in numerous favourite Bermudian dishes, from the classic codfish and banana breakfast to bananas flambed in Goslings rum.
Bananas thrive in Bermuda’s climate and several varieties are cultivated here, including fig, plantain, red and strawberry bananas, in addition to the Bermuda banana. They are grown not from seed but from “sword suckers” which are planted about six feet apart in deep soil, and a new plant will yield fruit at about 12 to 18 months from the time of planting.
Nutritionally, bananas are an excellent choice for various reasons. They contain iron, vitamin B6, fibre and three types of natural sugar – sucrose, fructose and glucose – making them a great source of natural energy. Additionally, the high potassium and low sodium levels of bananas mean they are ideal for controlling high blood pressure.
When it comes to using Bermuda bananas, the options are endless. Serve them with codfish and potatoes for breakfast, mix them into a fruit salad, bake them into any number of muffins, quick breads, cakes and desserts, or eat them just as they are.
Chunky Banana Cream Freeze
5 medium bananas, peeled and frozen
1/3 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons raisins
Place the bananas, milk, coconut, peanut butter and vanilla in a food processor. Cover and process until blended.
Transfer the mixture to a freezer container. Stir in the walnuts and raisins. Freeze for 2–4 hours before serving.
Editor’s Note: Look for unsweetened coconut in the baking or health food section.