Plátano de Canarias is an institutional brand under which bananas grown in the Canary Islands are marketed, which in turn account for practically all the cultivation and production of this fruit in Spain.
The brand is managed by the Asociación de Organizaciones de Productores de Plátano de Canarias (ASPROCAN). At the end of 2013, the Canary Island banana received the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) seal. It thus became the only banana in the world to have this recognition. This distinction guarantees the uniqueness and origin of the bananas from our islands, recognizing it as a unique and quality product.
The banana is the most important crop in the Canary Islands and, for decades, its industry has been the protagonist of the economic growth of the archipelago. Moreover, bananas from the Canary Islands account for 60% of the European production of this fruit.
History and characteristics of bananas grown in the Canary Islands
Banana cultivation began in Southeast Asia, between India and Malaysia. In the 5th century, the banana spread to the African continent from Madagascar and from there it spread along the coasts of the Mediterranean during the following millennium. It arrived in the Canary Islands from Equatorial Guinea and was introduced by Portuguese expeditionaries. According to history, it is believed that once the crop was successfully established on the islands, the Spanish introduced it to the Americas on their colonization voyages to the New World.
In the Canary Islands, mainly bananas of the Cavendish family are grown. Triploid cultivars of Musa acuminata, identified in the terminology of banana varieties with the letters AAA (three sets of chromosomes from M. acuminata and none from M. balbisiana). They are medium-sized fruits, covered by a thin yellow skin.
The main characteristic of the Canary Island banana, which differentiates it from other varieties, is its particular dark brown and black spots. In addition, it is a fruit suitable to be eaten raw. Some of the most widely planted cultivars in the Islands are Gran Enana, Zelig and Gruesa Palmera, the latter being a Canary Island selection of Cavendish Enano.
Cultivation of this fruit in the Archipelago
The banana tree is an herb with an arboreal biotype, but it is not a true tree because it lacks a trunk, from which the banana tree sprouts. The ideal temperature for the cultivation of the banana tree is around 25 degrees and its cultivation altitude should be less than 300 meters, these conditions only occur in the plantations of the Islands.
It is an expensive crop that requires a lot of water, good light conditions, soils with good porosity and drainage, sandy texture but with clay and silt in certain proportions, high content of organic materials and acid pH. Due to these conditions, Canary Island bananas are grown on all the islands except Fuerteventura, where there are no plantations.
About a year may elapse between the planting of the mother plant and the sprouting of the first bunch or pineapple of bananas. It is at this time that the bunch is tied, bagged and deflowered. Tying consists of propping up the bunch with a "horcón" or "estacón" (a wooden stick in the shape of a Y) to prevent it from falling under the weight. Bagging is used to cover the bunch with a plastic bag to prevent pests and diseases and to promote uniform distribution of the fruit. With the deflowering, the banana flower that remains at the end of each fruit is removed, a laborious process that is done manually and that the consumer can appreciate in the blackish finish that is on each piece.
The bunches are cut from the plant just before ripening to proceed to calibration, selection, cutting, packaging and labeling, all of these processes are carried out manually and allow the fruit to arrive in perfect condition for sale and final consumption in approximately two weeks after harvesting.
The famous Canarian snack recipe with banana from the Canary Islands
If the Canary Islanders stand out for something, it is, above all, for their passion for sweets. The Canarian recipe book includes a multitude of desserts and snacks that we have all eaten at one time or another. In this article we talk about the Canarian banana and it is necessary to highlight the well-known island dessert "merienda canaria", whose main base is banana, together with cookies and orange, and which is very easy to make.
A ripe banana, an orange and crackers.
The preparation of this delicious dessert takes no more than five minutes. First, peel the banana, chop it and place it in a plate or bowl, and then mash it using a fork. On the other hand, we grate the cookies until they are like a powder, you can crush them more or less and leave bigger pieces according to taste. Once the cookies are ready, add them to the previously crushed banana. Then add the orange juice to the mixture and stir everything well until the ingredients are completely integrated and that's it! You can now enjoy your delicious Canarian snack.
Photos: Government of the Canary Islands, cuidateplus.marca.com, valenciafruits.com, saboresdecolores.com