Bananas (Musa) have played interesting and important roles in the history of human civilizations. These seedless fruits constitute a crucial part of human diets in all tropical regions.
In the same plot of land where one could harvest 98 pounds of white potatoes or 33 pounds of wheat, a person could also harvest 4400 pounds of bananas with very little labour. Bananas are very rich in carbohydrates, vitamin C (also A and some B vitamins), and several important minerals, including potassium, copper, magnesium, calcium, and iron. In comparison with white potatoes, bananas have the same amount of caloric value but less fat and almost no protein. Annual world production of Musa fruit exceeds 40 million metric tons.
The oldest records of edible bananas come from India (600 B.C.). The first Chinese record is 200 A.D. Experts suspect also that Bananas (Musa) were introduced to the East African uplands around 500 B.C. by Indonesian travellers, who probably also brought techniques of canoe building and musical instruments to such places as Uganda and Madagascar. Later, Arabs introduced other forms of banana to the lowlands of East Africa. Bananas were arrived in the Mediterranean region in 650 A.D. via the Mohammedan conquest.
Around the world, there are more than 100 common names used for the fruits of Musa. The word "banana" originated in coastal West Africa, presumably in Guinea or Sierra Leone, and was adopted in the New World for the sweet forms with yellow skin (peel).
The "banana tree" grows in humid lowland to upland tropical areas; these plants die if they are exposed to cold temperatures. This is not really a tree but an arborescent (tree-like) perennial herb, which grows in the humid tropics like a grass, becoming a tree within a year. Vegetative propagation is essential because the plants never form seeds.
The fruit of a banana is a berry with a leathery outer peel that contains much collenchyma. An unripened banana has high starch and low sugar levels plus copious amounts of bitter-tasting latex. Starch is converted to sugar as the fruit ripens, so that bananas can eventually have about 25% sugar.
Bananas are harvested unripe and green, because they can ripen and spoil very rapidly. Then fruits are dried and usually placed in a ripening room for several days before going to market on Day 4, or exported after storing and packing with cushion (usually paper), where delivery to your store could be 15-20 days. Presence of naturally formed ethylene gas, produced by ripen fruits, hastens the ripening of surrounding, greener fruits; you can use that knowledge to speed the yellowing of green fruits, and ethylene gas can be used commercially to cause green bananas to start ripening.
Keep bananas on a fruit dish in the living room at room temperature. If you want the bananas to ripen faster place the bowl in the sun. Like other tropical fruits and tomatoes, never store bananas in the refrigerator . Below 8 degrees Celsius the fruit will decay from the inside. These fruits will not ripen but will turn black in the refrigerator.