Have you ever tried the Blue Java banana? Or perhaps you know it by the very cute name of Ice Cream banana, called as such for good reason: the flesh of the Blue Java banana has the consistency of ice cream and is flavoured with hints of vanilla. Many compare its taste with that of vanilla ice cream or vanilla pudding.
The Blue Java banana goes by a few other names, apart from Ice Cream banana (as they refer to it in Hawaii), and is called the Hawaiian banana in Fiji, Krie in the Philippines and Cenizo in various parts of Central America. It is a hardy, cold tolerant banana cultivar that produces plump, sweet bananas slightly shorter than the common Cavendish banana.
This banana gets its name from its blue-green skin when it is unripe, which gradually turns into a pale yellow, with a show white coloured flesh that can be eaten raw or cooked.
GROW YOUR OWN ICE CREAM BANANA TREE
The Blue Java banana tree is known to survive lower temperatures down to 20F/-7C and thrives outdoors in US growing zones 8-11. It will grow up to 18 feet/5.5 metres tall, and 10 feet/3 metres wide, with large silver-green leaves packed around a stout, sturdy trunk. Many online vendors across the US will deliver the tree straight to your door and you can easily find small plants of around 5 inches/13 cm up to fully grown banana trees.
A full to partial light is recommended for these tropical trees, and they will mature quite fast. A small plant may take up to around nine months before it bears fruit, but otherwise, your Blue Java banana tree should give you plenty of bananas to harvest, year after year. Browning of some of the leaves over the winter period is normal, but expect the tree to bounce right back come springtime.
BLUE JAVA BANANA RECIPES
The Blue Java banana will give you gigantic leaves which you can use like any other banana leaf in cooking. Use them as you would use foil to make parcels of fish and meat for grilling on the barbeque, or use it to wrap food in a baking recipe. You can easily steam foods while keeping their juices inside by wrapping them in a banana leaf and closing them tight with kitchen twine. Banana leaves are also aesthetically pleasing as a serving vessel, as you would often see them used at Thai or Vietnamese restaurants.
For cooking with Blue Java banana, you can freely replace any banana for Blue Java in many sweet and savoury recipes. It goes particularly well with ice cream (we’re thinking banana ice cream pie) but if you are looking for something more special, these recipes below will work perfectly with the vanilla flavour of the Blue Java banana:
Flambée Banana Panna Cotta
No two ingredients go better together than vanilla and cinnamon. Try this super easy pannacotta topped with delicious, caramelised banana disks that are flavoured with cinnamon.
Avocado Banana Smoothie with Chia Seeds
Full of healthy fats, this avocado smoothie is great for busy mornings and when hangry hits. The vanilla of the Blue Java recipe compliments the flavours of almond, agave syrup and cinnamon perfectly.
Rice with Fried Bananas and Coconut
Coconut and vanilla are a match made in heaven in this creamy rice dessert made with basmati rice, coconut milk and brown sugar.