Everyone knows about all the plastic we have all over the planet that’s killing us… but what about a good alternative materials that you can grow or buy that work well for all kinds of food uses?
Banana Leaves Have Many Uses – Banana Leaves are great as plates for food, they grow fast, are sturdy, very clean, large, and break down and add nutrients to the soil, and they make a very hearty compost for your garden.
Cooking – Banana Leaves if used for cooking food… gives the food a slightly sweet flavor. Just take Banana Leaves and cut them to the right size, (most people cut them into squares) then to make them easier to fold pour hot water over them for a few moments… they will get soft. Then you can fold them up and with your food inside and tie them up with a cotton string. Then place them in a pot for cooking or even put them right on the grill. Or Banana Leaves can be made into little tents… tied at the top with string or tooth picks to hold them together for steaming food.
Freezing – Banana Leaves keep well for later use, just cut them up and freeze them and they will keep for long periods of time, especially if you put them in seal-a-meal packages and remove the air. You could even pour hot water on them before freezing if you want make them easier to fold. Let your Banana Leaves thaw out for no longer than 5 minutes because they get soggy… so use them right away.
Use Instead of – Banana Leaves make great plates, can be used instead of foil, parchment, and waxed paper. They are very flexible, large, and waterproof, and in some countries they are even used as wrappers for frying foods, leaves and all are fried.
Ways to Use – Banana Leaves work wonders for cooking fish, meat, rice, and just about any kind of food you can think of. Plus they are easy to use, just take your fish and place it in the middle of a square of Banana Leaf and then add your sauce or spices and fold up and place in a pot to steam, or place on a cookie sheet to steam – Works Great!
Flavor – Banana Leaves don’t impart much favor of any kind to your food other than a slightly sweet flavor. But if you do want to have a tropical earthy flavor… fire roast your Banana Leaves so they are black over an open flame… similar to making fire roast peppers. Then you will get that earthy flavor in your meat, rice, veggies, or anything else you are cooking.
What can you cook with Banana Leaves – Anything that you would grill you can wrap in Banana Leaves… and put on the grill and you get a nice smoky flavor that adds to your fish or meat. Tamales are usually cooked in corn husks but in other places they use Banana Leaves. In many areas of the world such as Hawaii they use Banana Leaves for cooking pigs. In India they use Banana Leaves for cooking black lentils and rice.
In Asia they cook sticky rice in Banana Leaves, in the Philippines they cook a coconut cake in Banana Leaves and it’s great!
Here in Puerto Rico we cook Pasteles which is similar to tamales but we use grated taro root or winter squash to make the outside of the Pasteles… and then stuff them with veggies or meat and put them in Banana Leaves to boil for 45 minutes until everything is done. We freeze uncooked Pasteles wrapped in Banana Leaves… they keep for a long time in seal-a-meal bags.
In Asia they also make boats of Banana Leaves and cook a mixture of eggs, spices, meat, coconut milk, chicken, or even tofu – google “Otak-Otak” or “Cambodian Style Amok Fish” for the recipes. Also there’s fish and curry sauce, sweet rice and coconut, tomatoes with mushrooms and ginger, and many more great recipes.
In Central and South American a mixture of cabbage, onions, chili’s, tomatoes, with yuca and fried pork rinds are cooked in Banana Leaves. And some places they cook meat, yuca, and plantains in Banana Leaves with lots of spices.
Tea – Also Banana Leaves makes a nice light tea that contains polyphenols that helps the body to produce Dopamine which is important for treating Parkinson’s disease.
Buy or Grow – You can buy Banana Leaves frozen in large packages for only $4 in Asian and Indian Markets. Or if you live in Florida or any where near the tropics try growing your own banana trees. In fact banana trees will grow inside most any where… but will not bear fruit in cold climates unless you have a green house, but the leaves are wonderful and have many uses.
So get rid of that plastic plate and start using Banana Leaves.
Dr. Paul Haider – Master Herbalist and Spiritual Teacher for over 20 years, helping people to recover and feel healthy. You can also find Dr. Haider on FB under Dr. Paul Haider, Healing Herbs, Shambala Spiritual Transformation Institute, Meditation for the Soul, and Relax Into Success, Punjab teas, and at www.paulhaider.com – feel free to contact him any time. Also check out Dr. Haider’s radio show at http://www.thesourcecenterradio.com/The-Relaxed-Soul.html Oct. show to be about “Something is About to Happen… and what to do about it”
Dr. Paul Haider, Master Herbalist, HH, Banana Leaves, Cooking, Plates, Steaming, Freezing, Tea, Buy, Meat, Rice, Lentils, Biodegradable, Flavor, Uses, Grilling, Fish, Cooking,