Sunday, February 04, 2007

Rum Bananas

Weekend Herb Blogging travels to Germany where Ulrike from Küchenlatein is our host. This week I've decided to go a little bananas.

A day of hot weather has turned my pristine skinned but under-ripe bunch into this...

bananas© by haalo

I will admit that these are not the most photogenic bananas with their mottled skin but underneath is what counts and nothing tastes as good as a ripe banana.

You may have noticed over the course of last year that we Australian's suffered from serious banana withdrawals. The crops were devastated by Cyclone Larry which resulted in shortages and prices going upwards to $17 a kilo. True to the growers word they assured us that come Christmas time the prices would come back down and behold, for once it was true. At less than $2 a kilo, it's time to celebrate!

I didn't realise this until I started looking into bananas but they are they a herb and actually are the biggest herb in the world.

Bananas are well-known for their high levels of potassium. The also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin B in the form of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and folic acid. On the mineral front you'll find Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc.

Medicinally, it seems that bananas are like an all-purpose feel better pill. They can help with anaemia, blood pressure, constipation, depression, hangovers, heartburn, morning sickness, PMS, stress, strokes, ulcers and warts, just to name a few. One of the more unusual uses is in the treatment of mosquito bites by rubbing the inside of the banana skin over the bite - something to keep in mind during summer.

When deciding what to make I turned to the pages of Philip Johnson's latest book Classic E'cco where I found something quick and easy to make yet scored big on the luscious factor. Really, who could go past Rum Bananas?

rum bananas© by haalo

Rum Bananas

[sourced from Classic E'cco]

200 grams caster sugar
125-ml/½ cup water
60-ml/¼ cup dark rum ( I used Bundaberg Black)
3 bananas, cut on the diagonal into 3 slices

A deep-sided fry-pan works best for this recipe.

Place the sugar and water into the fry-pan and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Allow it to come to the boil and boil without stirring until the syrup becomes a deep golden colour. This will take a good 10 minutes or more but once it starts to turn, the process happens very quickly and you can end up with burnt caramel.

When you see some colour, take it from the heat and just give the pan a shake, you'll notice the darkness spread. If it's not quite dark enough, return it to the heat and continue giving the pan a shake until it reaches the right point.

When it's reached that golden colour add the thickly sliced bananas in batches. Make sure both sides are coated with the caramel. When all the bananas are in the pan, remove it from the heat and add the rum. Stir it through before placing it back on the heat.

Continue to cook until the bananas soften.

This is a step I didn't take but I will add it for those who want to do this.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the bananas. Return the pan to the heat and add 50-ml of pure cream. Bring this to the boil before straining into a serving jug. You would then serve the rum bananas with a good drizzle of this mixture.

rum bananas© by haalo

In my case, I haven't added the cream but I did partner them with some simple buttermilk pancakes. Which in the scheme of things, wasn't a bad way to start the day.


  1. All right, I need to not check out your blog when I'm hungry! Those look so amazing. I can just taste the warm and creamy bananas . . .

  2. Haalo, I am enjoying babana again, too! :) Love your new recipe by the way. I think it will taste fantastic!

  3. Local grown bananas, mmmh. The last time I had bananas fresh from the "tree" is about 20 years ago. In Germany you buy "Uncle Tuca" and "Mrs. Chiquita" which is only grown for Europe. Thanks for joining the WHB this week.

  4. Speaking of bananas, the Guardian recently published an article about the risk that bananas may not survive a current attack from two diseases, Panama disease and black Sigatoka, which apparently cannot be fought off. The main banana variety world-wide is a seedless mutant, the Cavendish; new plants grow using clippings. There are efforts to locate seeds to be able to generate new varieties capable of fighting off said diseases.

    When I saw this article I couldn't believe what I was reading. Frogs, turtles, and other wild animals critically close to extinction or already there, but bananas?

    The article is here:,3604,875612,00.html

  5. Delicious:):)

    I didn't think we'd ever see affordable bananas again here.
    Ours were up to $14.99 a kilo!!!

    With the heat over 40C deg plus
    for the last two weekends it's been bananas in fruit salad for me.

  6. Thanks Rachel - that's a problem with all food blogs ;)

    Thanks Anh - it's so good to have bananas back. This is probably more of a winter dish but it tasted fine today!

    Thanks for hosting Ulrike - look forward to the roundup!

    Hi Miguel - I see the Guardian believes in recycling as this "story" has been around since at least 2003. They should go one step further and close up shop, just think of all the trees they will save.

    Thanks Karen - fruit salads are where some of these will end up too.

  7. The original citation is from a New Scientist article from 2003. Not all botanists agree with the conclusions but some do. The previous popular variety in the 60s and before was the Gros Michel. It was wiped out from commercial production. So this kind of event is not unheard of. Snopes has a debunking but the debunking consists not of ruling the disappearance out but calling it very unlikely. Other wild varieties exist but none are confirmed successful at the levels of production of the Cavendish. There is no reason to freak out right now, but it's worth the concern.

  8. Wow, I have learned a lot about bananas. This does sound delicious, with or without the cream!

  9. Dear Haalo,

    I wanted to say hello, Haalo but, although that would have been a highly unique pun, (the highest or lowest form or wit) which I’m sure you’ve never heard before; nor has anyone ever penned such a distinctive salutation, but, “Dear Haalo, seemed more appropriate; as this is my first missive to you concerning bananas or any other food related item and deserves a more polite form.

    First, let me say that I feel like a cable television thief who has been enjoying, for free, great entertainment at a cost, cheap at twice the price, without acknowledgement or gratitude for all my ill gotten gains. I have surreptitiously had the pleasure and benefit of your lovely and stunningly informative web feed{ing} frenzy for several months and savor every installment. It is now time, after reading today’s episode that shed new and astonishing light on the nature of bananas and their surprising botanical taxonomy that I abandon my anonymity and thank you personally.

    I have been in my 62 years, a journalist (20 years), a chef (15 years) and am now in my third and hopefully not last epoch, as a fine art photographer…………… So, kindred spirit, you can imagine how much I am enjoying your, ”Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once”.

    Now to the most important aspect and reason for this message…. As a banana aficionado who has eaten and cooked with all manner of banana from the generic grocery variety, eaten in the buff, it’s buff not mine, to the pygmy variety of the Caribbean, aka, figs, for some odd reason, to the luscious fried plantains of Costa Rica, I am now shocked to find out that I have not been eating a fruit at all, but instead an herb. This revelation has stunned me to the core as one who has just slipped on a banana peel and whilst in midair realized that up from down is a long, long distance. As you have enlightened me to the true nature of the banana’s parentage, I did a little sleuthing of my own and discovered one aspect of the banana that you had failed to divulge.

    All bananas are actually male, as female bananas develop into males when they ripen. Hence the phrase, is that a banana in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?

    All the best,

  10. Sorry Jay but that's not the most interesting fact about bananas, even though it may reflect your macho fantasy.

    The most interesting fact is that the supposed urban myth than the EU legislated over the curvature of bananas is actually true.

    Here is the proof positive - EU regulation 2257/94 stating that bananas must be at least 13.97cm long and 2.69cm round and must not have "abnormal curvature".

    Maybe it was because if they were any more bent you'd have trouble stuffing them down your trousers to impress!

  11. That is a perfect use for bananas!

  12. How interesting! I didn't know bananas were considered herbs. Awesome! I love your picture of them. I'd grab one, right away, if they were in front of me. And I love this banana recipe of yours. Scrumptious!


  13. Who would have ever thought bananas would cause such hubbub - what other dark secrets do bananas hold?

    Hi Miguel - I'm not really a freaking out type and if I'm not mistaken I don't think I was the one that linked to the guardian ;)

    Thanks Kalyn - it was delicious and I'll be making more just in case those bananas do become extinct!

    Hi Jay and Welcome - that is the most interesting and unique introduction I've seen and I'm hoping you are feeling better now you've come out of lurker mode. I don't know though if I'll ever be able to look at a banana the same way again ;)

    Trig - that is a classic but a sad reality of what the EU really is about. I think you could take that to a comedy club and read it straight and you'd be a hit. The bit that lists the limits on the number of fingers and how to display them - that's bureaucracy gone mad. I wonder who gets the title Banana Inspector in the EU?

    Thanks Brilynn!

    Thank Paz - you'll have to grab them quickly before they are gone for good ;)

  14. How fantastic is it that bananas are now affordable? I picked up some this afternoon for 99c/kg - stunning to think that they were around $10/kg only a few months ago!

  15. Haalo,

    Your rum bananas looks fantastic - I love the caramel color!

    I think they'd be wonderful over many different things, like a slice of simple sponge cake, yummy!

  16. Wonderful! I love bananas and rum too!

    Thank you Haalo.

  17. Wow, thats a true bargin Ellie! We must savour them before First stage banana restrictions come into force ;)

    Thanks Patricia - they don't really need to go over anything they are quite yummy by themselves but their uses are only limited by ones imagination.

    Thanks Sue - two ingredients made even better when combined!

    Thanks Sher - who knew bananas had a secret identity?

  18. I had to read your WHB post! I never knew bananas are classified as a herb!! Your banana dessert looks simply AMAZING!

  19. Thanks Sim - you don't have to wait for dessert to enjoy the rum bananas ;)


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