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 flambéed 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.
No-Bake Banana Cream Cheesecakes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 ripe banana, sliced
2 tablespoons canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped cream for serving
Graham cracker crumbs for topping
In a small bowl, mix together the butter and graham cracker crumbs until moistened. Press the crumbs into four containers of your choice (jars, ramekins, etc.) with the back of a spoon.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides when needed. Add the mashed banana and beat until completely combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the condensed milk and then the coconut milk, continuing to scrape down the sides until the mixture is very smooth. Add the vanilla extract and stir until combined.
Place some sliced bananas on top of each graham cracker crust, then pour the cheesecake mixture evenly into the four glasses or jars. Refrigerate for 4–6 hours.