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      July 2013 > Everything you wanted to know about bananas...

Everything you wanted to know about bananas...

Did you know that the largest bunch of bananas ever recorded – containing 473 individual bananas – came from the small island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands? It was grown on a co-operative finca on the island and weighed 130 kg (287 lb) when it was harvested on 11 July 2001.

Bananas are big business in the Canary Islands – each year, they produce 400 million kilos. Have you ever wondered why ‘Canary Wharf’ in London got its name? Now you know.

This iconic fruit is El Hierro’s main export – the other four islands cultivating bananas are Tenerife, La Palma, Gran Canaria and La Gomera.

Self-guided walking holidays in the Canary IslandsBananas from the Canary Islands are sweeter than their Latin American counterparts (i.e. they contain more ‘brix’) and are generally shorter, firmer and lighter. The banana tree grown in the Canary Islands is ‘a triploid of the Musa Acuminata colla AAA species, corresponding to the Cavendish variety’. (Bet you didn’t know that!)

The optimum temperature for growing bananas is around 25ºC at an altitude below 300 metres, which is why the shores of El Golfo on El Hierro, sheltered by the island’s immense escarpment, is perfect banana-growing territory. Additionally, bananas need a good amount of light, quite a lot of humidity and sand-based soil that contains ‘the right amount’ of clay and silt.

In such conditions bananas can be grown all year round. The period from the seeding of the mother plant until the bunch appears takes approximately 10 to 12 months, and once the bunch has formed, processes such as the tying, bagging and deflowering take place.

You may not have heard of El Hierro – it is far less well-developed than its larger neighbours meaning that fewer people visit – in turn, meaning that it’s a perfect escape from the trappings of modern tourism and ideal for a walking holiday ‘off the beaten track’. As you walk, you will pass banana plantations, plus those containing pineapples, too. Most plantations are small affairs of around one hectare each, though co-operatives of several owners are common.

To discover 15 more interesting facts about bananas, click on this link >
And for more banana trivia, click here >

PS: Did you know that the fastest marathon ever run by a competitor dressed as a fruit was 2 hours, 58 minutes, and 20 seconds, recorded at the Barcelona Marathon on 6 March 2011. The runner was Patrick Wightman from the United Kingdom – and he was dressed as… guess what? … a banana, of course!

Self-guided walking holidays in the Canary Islands

Posted: 30/07/2013 16:38:17 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: Canary islands, gastronomy, heritage, lifestyle, media, nature, opinions, Spain

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