Sunday, June 17, 2012

Banana leaves make the most practical food wrapper.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Imagine if there were no banana leaves to make these favorite delicacies:  suman, tupig, bucayo, bibingka, patupat, puto, tinubong, biko-biko, and the like.  We would be missing their characteristic flavor and aroma, and their indigenous trade mark.  So with a lot of recipes like paksiw na isda, lechon, and rice cooked with banana leaves lining.  Banana leaves have natural wax coating which aid in keeping the taste and aroma of food, while protecting it from harmful microbes.

Banana leaves as wrapper of tamales.

In the elementary, we used banana leaves as floor polish.  The wax coating makes wooden floors as shiny as any commercial floor wax sans the smell of turpentine. Banana leaves when wilted under fire exude a pleasant smell.  When ironing clothes use banana leaves on the iron tray. It makes ironing cleaner and smoother, and it imparts a pleasant, clean smell to clothes and fabric. 

This is how to prepare banana leaf wrapper. 

1. Select the wild seeded variety (botolan or balayang Ilk.) and the tall saba variety.  Other varieties may also be used.  

2. Get the newly mature leaves. Leave half of the leaf to allow plant to recover. Regulate the harvesting of young leaves as this will affect the productivity of the plant.   

3. Wilt the gathered leaves by passing singeing the leaves over fire or live charcoal until they are limp and oily. Avoid smoky flame as this will discolor the leaves and impart a smoky smell (napanu-os).  

4. Wipe both sides of the leaves with clean soft cloth until they are glossy and clean. 

5. Cut wilted leaves with desired size, shape and design. Arrange to enhance presentation and native ambiance. 

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