Tuesday, April 28, 2009
In Venezuela we were introduced to various types of bananas. From the cooking plantains to several varieties of eating bananas, the small 'manzano' to the 'topocho'.
We were delighted to discover a topocho banana plant in our yard. We found this banana which is short and a bit rounder than the more common ones, to be sweet and delicious. When the banana plant gave its fruit, a nice large bunch of bananas, we enjoyed them greatly and determined to keep the topocho plant alive so that we might enjoy its fruit yet again. ( Los que saben, ya están reindo!)
Unfortunately, the plant began to ...droop! We noticed it seemed to be wilting and drying out. So my husband decided to try to save the plant. He found some rope and tied the plants stalk up to a pipe. But it continued to droop, now in another direction. We were very concerned because we really wanted to save the plant so conveniently located in our own yard!
So Yekwnaman added another rope to pull the stalk in the opposite direction. This continued for a week or so. Each day we would notice the banana plant drooping in a new direction, so we would add a rope trying to support the plant. It seemed as if a drunken spider had spun a web in our yard, with ropes strung in every direction!
Finally, we asked for help. A friend who worked in gardens came by to see what was ailing our poor topocho banana plant. He stopped, looked at the plant being held up by rope, glanced at us with a bewildered look upon his face, and laughed !!! He laughed, and laughed and laughed!
He finally said,"Your topocho is dead!"
We sadly asked, "You mean, it can't be saved? We really wanted more topochos to eat!"
"No", he said "Once a banana plant gives fruit, it dies! You can't save it!"
"But... we liked the topochos! We want more!"
And then he proceeded to explain the mystery of the banana plant. Each plant gives fruit and then dies. BUT... not to worry! The plant has off shoots (hijitos) which had already sprung up around the base of the dying stalk. These would provide a continuous supply of topochos for our eating pleasure.
oh...we didn't know ...
And from that day forth, my husband had the nickname of 'Topocho' in Venezuela! Even when called on the ham radio, people would ask to speak to ' Señor Topocho' much to his chagrin.
I found this photo essay of how to harvest bananas!