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The Instacart guide to banana flower products
About banana flowers
Also known as banana blossoms, banana flowers are the flowers that grow on the end of a banana plant. This reddish-purple, teardrop-shaped flower is edible and is quite common in Asia. They are also often used when preparing Southeast Asian and Indian cooking. Many people enjoy eating them raw or using them in salads, curries, and soups. Because of their chunky, flaky texture, banana flowers make a great substitution for fish.
The outer leaves of banana flowers are called bracts. This part of the banana blossom is not edible, but it can be used as a dish or platter to serve food. Once you remove the bracts, you will see a row of delicate yellow-tipped flowers. This is the edible portion of the banana blossom.
Banana flowers grow in groups of blossoms called hands, as they resemble tiny fingers. These beautiful delicate blossoms are sometimes called banana hearts. Banana flowers can be found in roadside stands and farmers' markets where bananas are grown. If you don't live in a tropical location, you can find banana flowers at Asian or Indian food stores and specialty grocery markets. They can be located in the produce department, in the canned food section, and in frozen foods. If you're only using them in a cooked recipe, frozen banana flowers are fine. They don't thaw well, so avoid using frozen flowers in salads or eating them raw.
Although they come from banana plants, banana flowers do not taste much like bananas. They do have a similar fragrance as the sweet yellow fruit. Some people think they taste and look like artichoke leaves, hearts of palm, or bamboo shoots. While these flowers are soft, they also tend to offer a nice light crunch.
It's best to use banana flowers right after picking them as they can spoil easily once harvested. If you purchase them at a market rather than a fruit stand, you will want to cook them within one to two days. If you don't plan on using them right away, you can store them in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. This will keep them fresh for at least three days.
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