A grilled banana split: no need for a special banana split dish (photo courtesy Pampered Chef).  Another presentation from Women’s Day. Here’s their recipe.  Fusion food: a grilled banana hot fudge sundae (photo courtesy Weber).  The world’s most popular fruit (photo Nathan Ward | SXC)!
Who doesn’t love a banana? It’s the world’s most popular fruit. Some 25 pounds of bananas are consumed per capita each year.
In the U.S., more bananas are consumed than oranges and apples combined! And August 27th is National Banana Lovers Day.
Bananas were introduced to the U.S. in 1880. By 1910, bananas were so popular that cities—which then lacked sanitation systems—had a problem disposing of the banana peels.
People were literally slipping on banana peels that were discarded on sidewalks and streets (a reality appropriated by comedians), leading to injuries. The Boy Scout Handbook recommended picking up banana peels from the street as a Scout’s good deed of the day (source).
Man has been growing bananas for some 10,000 years, since the dawn of agriculture. It’s the oldest cultivated fruit.
Bananas don’t grow on trees: The banana plant is actually the world’s largest herb. It’s a cousin to ginger and vanilla.
There are more than 1,000 varieties of bananas. The majority grow in Africa and Asia: 600 varieties in India alone.
The American supermarket banana is a variety called the Cavendish. It’s a more bland banana, but it travels well.
Bananas float in water (so do apples)!
MORE BANANA TRIVIA
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BANANA RECIPE?
Banana Bread? Banana Cream Pie? Banana Daiquiri? Banana French Toast? Banana Ice Cream? Banana Pudding? Peanut Butter and Bananas?
We say YES! to all, but today are focusing on two: the kid favorite Banana Split and the over-21 Bananas Foster.
BANANA SPLIT HISTORY
Two towns in the U.S. lay claim as the home of the banana split.
In 1904 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, David Strickler, a 23-year-old druggist’s apprentice at Tassel Pharmacy is said to have created the first banana split sundae for the local college crowd.
In 1907 in Wilmington, Ohio, restaurateur Ernest R. Hazard held a dessert contest among his employees at The Café. One came up with a sundae of sliced banana topped with three scoops of ice cream, chocolate syrup, strawberry jam, pineapple bits, chopped nuts, whipped cream and cherries.
Fortunately for the rest of us, the concept spread nationwide, affording all of us the joy of a Banana Split.
RECIPE: GRILLED BANANA SUNDAE
Banana splits are easy to make: Split a ripe banana vertically, place it in a long dish, top with three scoops of ice cream (traditionally vanilla, chocolate and strawberry) and toppings of choice. (You can get Anchor Hocking banana split dishes for about $2 each.)
Here’s a twist: a grilled banana sundae, a cross between the classic and Bananas Foster. In the latter, bananas are caramelized in butter with brown sugar and cinnamon, then topped with dark rum and flambéed, with the bananas and the flaming sauce served over vanilla ice cream.
We’ve included a Bananas Foster recipe below. The recipes are very similar, except that for Bananas Foster, the bananas are sautéed in butter instead of grilled; and alcohol is added to the caramel sauce. The banana is typically sliced in half lengthwise and crosswise.
Ingredients For 4 Servings
2 firm, ripe bananas
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup fudge sauce
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds