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I have made banana flower soup 3 times now. The first time it had a nice, unique warming/comforting flavour. The second time it was inedible. The third time it was almost inedible. The recipes I have found call for the banana flower to be soaked in water with a slice of lemon for 1 hour.

Worried that it didn't work last time, I just quartered the lemon and soaked it with the whole thing (squeezed), but still it had that crappy taste (like banana peels).

I noticed this time that it also said use a non-reactive pan, so I did that.

I am wondering if any one can shed some light on what counteracts this taste? I know it can taste nice, and the banana flower is to substantial to waste! Thanks.

  • Welcome to Seasoned Advice! What did you do different from your first attempt, the other times? – Phrancis Dec 16 '14 at 16:35
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    Did you peel the outer leaves from the bud? Did you keep or discard the small, yellow flowers? I've only seen people eat the pink "leaves," but I've heard that sometimes the flowers are eaten, but they are extremely bitter. – Mr. Mascaro Dec 16 '14 at 17:00
  • Yes I used the small flowers and the big pink petals. – Adripants Dec 16 '14 at 22:07
  • I did discard an inch from the base, but I wasn't confident about that, because the position of the base depends on where the flower is cut. I'm not sure what the differences were. Time to keep a journal I guess? – Adripants Dec 16 '14 at 22:09
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If the banana flower was astringent it is because of the flower, not the cooking method.

When the flowers are large and young they taste a lot better. If you wait until the bananas are formed and the stem to the flower is long then it will be astringent. The best time to pick the flower is when the stem is 10cm or less from the banana bunch. If the flower is old it will not be as good.

The variety of banana will also influence the taste of the flower. Sugar bananas often have the best flowers. You can eat the pink section but it is not as pleasant as the white section. If you eat the small individual flowers you need to take out the sepal in the centre which is incredibly time consuming.

Putting the banana flower in lime water is simply to stop it from going brown before you cook it. It does not significantly change the flavour.

There are many ways to cook banana flower. Here is my preferred method:

  • Peel the flower until you come to the white centre.
  • Discard the red outer section and the individual flowers hidden within this.
  • I like to quarter the centre and then I place in boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes with some salt.

For me it is delicious just like this with some lime, but from here you can put it in a cooked curry, salad, etc.

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Remove the red part of the flower until you see the whiter part and the soft part. Chop this and soak it in a bowl of water with salt for 30 minutes, then rinse it. Wash it again and rub it with salt, then soak it for the last time with the same procedure for 30 mins.

Finally, rinse with cold water.

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We Thamilians from south India soak the banana flowers , not the petals in butter milk and then use it in curries .This is our tradional way of preparing. The tender ones tastes amazing when eaten raw unsoaked

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The problem is with your flowers. I have non GM bananas in my backyard and they do not taste astringent even if eaten raw. Maybe you have allowed them to overripen or your particular strain was not selected for it's flowers.

Considering the possibility that you do not have any other option but to work with that particular strain alone, I will advise you to try altering the pH with acidic and alkaline broths. Soaking them in neutral tasting fresh soymilk with salt could help. Also, you should definitely try stir frying it before using it because that's a commen method to make astringent foods more palatable.

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