Banana blossom, heart or flower. Whatever and however you call it, the banana blossom is much less utilized compared to the banana fruit. Although less is also available in the market in contrast to the fruit, not many will like to eat it. Much less may be willing to prepare and cook, considering the laborious process of removing the tough petals, plucking out the scale-like calyx, removing the matchstick-like pistil from every floret and soaking in lemon water. Nonetheless, the blossom or heart is one superfood due to its nutritional and health benefits increasingly gaining the attention of the health and food industry. One day, you may see it as food supplement alone or in combination with other ingredients.
The blossom contains carbohydrates in similar quantities with radish, in higher amounts compared to cabbage and onion leeks but in lower amounts compared to most vegetables especially leafy greens. Based on the Philippine Food Composition Table (FNRI, 1997), its calcium content is comparable with ampalaya fruit, spinach, pako (fern), eggplant, green cabbage , cauliflower and beets; higher than labong, cucumber, bell pepper, radish but in lower quantities compared to many more vegetables even the leafy greens. It also contains significant amounts of phosphorous, beta-carotene (vitamin A), iron and B vitamins. Fiber which is not a nutrient but abundant in banana blossom is useful in the management of diabetes, heart disease, constipation and other digestive problems. The food is also rich in vitamin E, C, potassium, copper and magnesium (Sheng 2010). Shilpi Singh (2017) of Punjab Agricultural University, India, summarized its usefulness and citing previous studies and many more web references, he reported the blossom being rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, antibacterial properties and used in management of diabetes, anemia, bronchitis, indigestion, peptic ulcer and other digestive problems. Further it keeps the uterus healthy, reduces bleeding during menstrual cycle, act as lactating agent, reduces anxiety and increases good mood.
Given choices of vegetables, it is hoped that you will get to choose and consume half cup banana blossom on a more or less regular basis, say once in a week or every two weeks.