Yes, you can eat this flower

The flower of the banana tree is a blossom you could eat, writes Sripriya Satish

Banana flower

When someone says ‘banana tree’, what flashes in your mind? Most probably, its fruit, right? But do you know that the tree’s humungous blossom, which is deep purple in colour and cone-shaped, can create magic when used in the right way? Also, these pretty flowers appearing at the tip of a banana bunch can be a tough competitor to the other parts of the plant while considering its health benefits. This pretty flower houses thin tubular structured male flowers carefully lined in consecutive layers, covered by closely packed crimson coloured bracts or petals. 

Known as vazhaipoo in Tamil, kela phool in Hindi, arati poovu in Telugu, and bale huva in Kannada, this plantain flower is common to Southeast Asia and offers incredible benefits. Here are some:

* The immediate decolouration of the florets when exposed to air is because of its very high iron content and can thus replenish the haemoglobin levels in our body with ease.

* Intake of this flower can put an end to bacterial infections.

* It’s a great food for diabetic patients as it has antihyperglycemic properties.

* It is also a powerhouse of Vitamin C, which can prevent ulcers.

* Your stomach will simply love this flower as it relieves the system from constipation, and prevents bloating. It can greatly improve digestion as the fibre content in this amazing blossom is high.

Do it right

Here’s how you can cook this flower. Firstly, your hands should be greased with oil to prevent the sticky pigments of the flower staining your fingers and palm. Then remove the purple bracts one by one until the pale coloured tubular parts of the flower are seen. Discard the inedible bracts and preserve the yellow male flowers. Till you reach the inner pale yellow bract, which is relatively soft, keep peeling. Then gently brush the pale yellow flowers on the top to remove the black-coloured and inedible stamen from them. An important point to be noted is that these male flowers are to be immediately put in very dilute buttermilk to prevent decolouration. Though this process of sorting out the edible parts of the flower is lengthy and messy, the outcome of the dishes made from these flowers is truly yummy.

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