Bananas - When the time's ripe

Although the banana has been around for thousands of years, it arrived in North American in 1804.  At the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 bananas were sold and exotic fruit.  Today, the banana is the world's most popular fruit.  Bananas come in a variety of colors, including yellow, purple, green, red and black.  Eash has its own particular taste, shape size and testure.  Bananas are available year-round.

Sselect plump, evenly colored bananas.  Bananas are cut from the tree when green.  Tiny brown speckles indicate the banana is sripe.  Store are room temperature.  If refrigerated, the skin darkens, but the fruit remains edible.

To prepare a banana, just peel it.  If cooking wiwth bananas, choose slightly underripe fruit (green at their tips); they hold their shape better.  Overripe bananas can be frozen, if wrapped airtight, for up to 6 months.