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Food glossary

Tasty, lovely, sweet bananas

Bananas

Taking their name from the Arabic word for 'finger', banan, they contain valuable nutrients: carbohydrates, potassium, carotene and vitamins A, B6 and E. Thanks to their ripening and travelling qualities and to refrigerated ships, bananas have been available since the first shipments to Britain from the Canaries in 1882.

Bananas are available in small, medium or large sizes and are available all year. Organic bananas are also available.

Uses: Best eaten raw, bananas can also be grilled along with chicken joints, beef or gammon steaks or white fish; fried (or baked) with roast beef; used in sweet dishes such as fritters, banana chartreuse and banana bread. Favourite partners of bananas include, coconut, cream, fromage frais, yogurt, kirsch and rum.

To prepare:
Peel and slice the bananas for fruit salads. To prevent discolouration brush the cut surfaces with lemon juice.

To store:
Store bananas in a bowl without any other fruit (they will turn black) at room temperature. Do not refrigerate as the bananas will turn black.

Red bananas

Waitrose red bananas come from Ecuador, where the red banana plant is a common sight growing semi-wild on the roadside. In contrast to the red skin, the flesh is a creamy colour and has a creamy flavour to match. Available all year.

To store:
Store at room temperature.

To prepare:
Peel back the red skin and eat them fresh or use them instead of yellow bananas in recipes. Brush them with lemon juice to prevent browning if they are not to be eaten immediately.