Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the April 21, 2007 Newsletter issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO


The other day my friend Marina brought me some bananas she and her husband grew at their mountain rancho. Thick-skinned, thick-bodied, six-inch long fruits that instead of being round in cross-section were angular, they were of a type I've never seen in a North American market. Of course, above that's Marina and her bananas, which she called Costillones or "Big-ribbers," with Camila the dog in the background.

I'm never surprised to see new types of bananas because I know there are lots of them. At the bottom of the page at http://mgonline.com/banana.html you can find a list of 117 named banana varieties. You can see a good selection of them grown in Hawaii at http://www.hawaiifruit.net/BananaPix/index.htm.

Marina's Costillones have a somewhat spongy flesh and a bland, slightly sour taste. They're similar to those I've seen elsewhere that are meant to be baked, not eaten raw, but Marina says that here Costillones are eaten raw. My friend Julio says the best way to eat them is in a licuado -- blend them in milk, add honey and cinnamon, and come up with something like a banana smoothie.