Number 30 of my 43 New-to-Me challenge was banana blossom. I didn't know banana blossoms were edible until I saw them at the Asian market. Each blossom was individually packaged and about the size of two mangoes end to end.
Such a pretty color!
Let's see what's inside!
You can see my iPad open on the table in front of me. I'd looked up "how to eat banana blossom" and was reading the preparation instructions as I cut. As predicted, when I peeled the first outer leaf off, a bunch of little bananas-to-be fell out. Cute! I'll try one!
HUGE mistake. That was one of the worst things I've ever eaten. So, of course, I made my friends try one too.
The article I was reading said that banana blossoms are somewhat like artichokes. Peel off the outer, tough leaves to get to the tasty parts, which you can eat raw or cook.
We tasted the inner part. Just as hideous as the first taste had been. I can't even describe it, other than to say it was bitter, sticky, astringent, and mucousy. Totally gross. My friend Evangeline, who grew up in the Philippines, kept saying that we needed to cook the banana blossom, that she'd never heard of it eaten raw. I did some more Googling, put on a pot of water, and got out the steamer.
I cut the banana blossom in half to speed the cooking time. I put half into boiling water with a bunch of vinegar (which would allegedly remove the bitter taste) and put the other half into the steamer.
After 20 minutes, I retrieved the blossoms, which were now soft. But the mucus was still there. Check it out:
We cautiously tasted both the steamed and the boiled banana blossom. Both were just as terrible as the raw version. I don't spit out food, but I spit this out. All four of us agreed that the banana blossom should be rated 0... or lower, if such a thing were possible.
Further research indicates that I should have soaked the cut blossoms in acidic water for a long time to remove the bitterness and the goo. I wish the first two seemingly-trustworthy sites had mentioned that! I'm not willing to buy another banana blossom and try again any time soon, but maybe someday. In the meantime, I can say with confidence that banana blossom is now officially the worst new-to-me food I have tasted, dethroning galangal (shudder). To add insult to injury, my cutting board is now stained black. Curse you, Banana Blossom!
As disgusting as the banana blossom was, I do like the layout I made.