There is an icky bit at the 'base' (non-stem) end of a banana. When one peels a banana they attempt to remove this last bit with the 'spike' intact so as to leave none in the fruit (or berry), like deveining a shrimp.
I think this bit, the spike in particular, may be a remnant of some flower, but have not been able to find a specific confirmation of this. Is there a name for this bit, what is its origin and function in the fruit / flower, and has anyone coined a word for deftly extracting it in one smooth pinch?
I saw your question in twitter, and planned to answer you before, but got caught up with other things. Thank god for bookmarking, right?
Anyways, the icky part is actually a part of the stem, which connects the fruit to the bunch (or the "real" stem outside the peel). Without it, there would be nothing to hold the banana in place.
I found this wikipedia entry, which doesn't relate to your question at all, but which does give some information about bananas in general :-)
I am glad to know that someone else in the world wonders what "the end opposite the stem" of a banana is called. Your description and explanation is perfect. I just started eating bananas for health, but my interest came years ago. A co-worker always peeled the banana holding the stem, pinching the other end and peeling it down toward the stem. I always peeled it the other way, using the stem as a peeling lever. His rational was, "look at the monkeys, they hold it by the stem and peel it down from the other end, they know more about bananas than we do, so they (I) must be right. I peel it that way now, which causes me to grab hold of that butt and pinch off the spike and leave it with the peel. Not all "banana butts" are equal. Let's call them "Banana Butts" until we get the proper word. If you find out what it is called, let me know. I have learned a lot about the herb banana and their pseudostem, but not the Banana Butt. Oh, we should take a survey about which direction people and monkeys peel bananas.
I actually ate some bananas after answering your question, but I really did not develop a taste for it :-)
I live in Hawaii, on Maui, along the Hana Highway in Nahiku, a rainforest. I have bananas growing in my jungle yard plot parcel space here. I make banana bread everyday, almost, and I peel about 3 pounds of banana a day, and I know exactly that dark, toward black "base" of the banana that you mention as the icky part.
I can not tell you exactly what it is called, but I can tell you that it is even ickier on the outside when still attached to the stalk. Small stiff black material is at the terminal end of each fruit and I peel them off, and get a drop of sticky sap, to keep the bananas nicer. As the flower peels layers of petals off, each reveals a hand of bananas, and the tiny fruit have a yellow hairlike projection then, which I believe to be the external and internal part you remove before eating. According to the Wikipedia page on seedless fruit ( the banana ), the fertilization process is aborted, so it is my suspicion that the black spike terminal end of the seedless fruit is indeed a no longer neccesary remnant of the flower, perhaps the most distal end of the pistil??
But the rest of the flower, which looks like the whole of the flower, is hanging at the end of the stalk. It peels itself off, petal after petal, and then some of those tiny fingers turn into bananas and the rest fall to the ground like droppings from bats, fingers, sap and petals in a pile. The tight bundle of petals at the end is purple and good to eat, albeit quite stringent. A honeymooning couple stoped and showed me how to prepare it one afternoon.
As to the second question about how people peel bananas, I peel too many bananas to be going the length, I peel the banana around, like removing a wrap-around skirt, and then bend at the end in the final gesture to remove the terminal spike. It actually pulls out, leaving a small indentation, and sometimes even revealing the three natural divisions of the fruit.
Hey! I just got an update! that little icky dark thing has several names: it's called banana cardboard by Jungle Bunny, the famous coconut candy maker, and she told me it has 70% of all the potassium of the banana, and a motherload of the other nutrients in megadoses. She said it is definietely the distil pistil and is called that, and also the banana vitamin.
i went ahead and ate it, thinking about it the way I think about wheat grass, and it was worth it. Eat your icky!! I mean it! you're worth it !!
Right on, thanks for these answers, asaraink!
I was hoping for someone who had trees in their backyard, so to speak, to give me the details not included in the Wikis. That's interesting about the potassium concentration--I'll also have to reconsider discarding the distil pistils from now on!
dude, I bet my dad knows.
can you get high of any part of a banana by smoking it ?
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