Around the Bluhmin’ Town

The Banana crisis

By JUDY BLUHM

Yes, we have no bananas. We have no bananas today.

The banana crisis is real and terrifying. American’s favorite fruit (well actually botanically classified as a berry) has a problem.

The awful fungus that devastates banana plants has now arrived in Latin America. Colombian plantations have identified the Tropical Race 4 (TR4) in the soil of banana farms and has declared a national state of emergency.

Bananas are an American staple.

Delicious to eat alone, easy to pack in lunches, plus the number one addition to enhance any bowl of cereal. And we never need to waste a banana! Soft or over-ripe bananas are whipped up into scrumptious loaves of bread or muffins. They can be happily mixed into pancake batter or smoothies. And what would a banana split be without the banana?

Yes, we love our bananas.

This devastating soil fungus has wreaked havoc for banana growers throughout Asia, and there are scientists working to find a replacement for the common and much-loved Cavendish banana. This takes time to develop and evidently for banana lovers, time is running out.

Bananas make us happy! They contain a high level of tryptophan, which converts to serotonin and makes our mood lighter. Bananas might even help with improving our sleep. With high levels of Vitamin B and C, they are a good source of potassium and high in fiber.

Did you know that the banana peel has many uses? You can polish silver with it, relieve the itch of a bug bite and can be buried in the soil around your roses as fertilizer.

I do recall my mother using banana peels for all sorts of home remedies. Have a burn? Press a peel on it. My brother would frequently get poison ivy rash and she would make him sit holding banana peels on his red, itchy skin, which seemed to work.

My grandmother claimed just holding a peel to her forehead would get rid of her headaches. And our family doctor used to preach, “A banana a day keeps the doctor away.” Forget about apples!

Americans eat an average of 27 pounds of bananas per person every year. A staggering 96 percent of each American household buys at least one bunch of bananas a month.  More than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year in the world by humans. And that doesn’t even count monkeys, who rely on them as a food staple.

In other words, we are crazy about our bananas.

Let’s not panic yet. Take heart, Dear Readers, as we must have faith in science. Oh, those of you in lab coats who can save this impending disaster of banana extinction will be heroes to we, the banana consumers. 

As one researcher has stated, “bananas will not disappear from the Earth, but they will certainly become more difficult to cultivate and also more expensive to buy.”

Should we feel better?

Today, grab a bunch of the golden fruit. Rejoice in the pleasure of a yummy and nutritious snack. Because as of right now, yes, we do have bananas.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.