In our childhood house in Kerala there used to be many banana plants of different varieties growing around our house. When the banana fruit starts to come, first the Banana flower is cut & made into a very delicious vegetable.
After that there is a wait for about a month when the banana fruit comes to an almost ripe stage, then it is cut & kept inside the house usually in an empty drum for ripening. It is cut before ripening so that we can have the banana, otherwise the “fruit bats” would finish them off in a night.
Before the whole banana bunch is kept away in some dark corner for ripening, some banana’s which my grand mother thought may not ripen properly are removed & they are cooked into one of the various delicious raw banana dishes.
The day on which banana fruit is harvested is a day when the kitchen will be buzzing with activity. First the tender part of the stem is made into a very tasty vegetable dish sometimes with dried shrimps, some stems are gifted to neighbours or visitors along with the banana’s. All the beautiful green leaves are carefully cut so that they can be used for various tasks, especially for the many steamed dishes Kerala is famous for. Grandma would’ve already got fresh Mussels & a tangy, spicy mix from rice flour will be stuffed inside the mussels, steamed in banana leaves & made into an evening snack ready to be served when we come back from school. If there are visitors, then Tilapia or Pomfret is steamed in the banana leaves in a green chutney made from coriander & coconut. If no sea food was available then savouries like “Ada” made with rice flour, jaggery & coconut would be made. Some leaves are used as serving plates, where many a memorable meal has been devoured. Whatever remained of the plant is placed as mulch under another coconut tree or another banana plant. Absolutely nothing is wasted from that plant. It was truly a celebration of harvest.
On the other hand here in the area where our farm is located, people unfortunately only see the banana fruit. Through their skewed eyes they cannot see the uses in the flower, stem, nor do they value the leaves. A few times i made a few dishes for my co-workers, however i could see they didn’t enjoy it….sigh !!
Now on to the story of our lemon tree which was bend over with lemons. I still cannot figure out which variety of lemons are these…. readers help me ID please !!
Initially we were happy to give a few lemons as gifts to our friends, then a pickling bug caught over me.
I settled for a tried & tested recipe which was also seconded by a friend’s mother, i tried to be as neat & hygienic as possible, saw to it there was no water or moisture anywhere on the lemons, the knife, the cutting board, the bottles etc. In the end we’ve about 6kgs of pickle. Fingers crossed and hoping that it matures well, has my signature taste to it, more importantly will not have any issues with fungus etc, so that the pickles will last over years.
It’s the holy month of Ramadan & here is a superb quote penned by a good friend of mine. (BS)
“Agar Ramzan mein’ Ram’ hota hai aur Diwali mein ‘Ali’
to phir Haram mein bhi ‘Ram’ hota hai aur Bali mein ‘Ali’
Insaniyat ke naate aap kaun se vaale Ram aur Ali banenge?
Vaise Insaan mein ‘insane’ bhi hota hai aur ‘sane’ bhi.”
& another gem from him
A fundamental question-
can fundamentalists serve each other food?
No. On one side it is ‘Thali ban’ for Kafirs, and the other it’s strictly a Rashtriya ‘Swayam Serve’ak Sangh.
Peace & love