The history of banana cultivation in the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands have a long history of banana cultivation, with the fruit playing a significant role in the culture and economy of the region.
The first bananas to be grown on the islands were brought by the Guanches, the indigenous people of the Canaries, who are believed to have been living on the islands for more than 2,000 years. These early bananas were likely introduced to the islands by travelers and traders from West Africa, and were likely used for both food and medicinal purposes.
Over time, the cultivation of bananas on the islands became more widespread, and the fruit became an important source of food for the local population. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the production of bananas on the Canary Islands increased significantly, and the fruit became a major export crop for the region.
The varieties of bananas grown in the Canary Islands
The warm and sunny climate of the Canary Islands is well-suited to the cultivation of bananas, and the region is home to a number of different varieties of the fruit. The most common type of banana grown on the islands is the Cavendish banana, which is named after the British nobleman who first introduced it to the Western world. Other varieties of bananas grown on the islands include the Plantain, a larger, starchier variety that is often used in cooking, and the Lady Finger, a small, sweet banana that is popular as a dessert fruit.
In addition to its economic importance, the banana is also a significant cultural symbol in the Canary Islands. The fruit is featured prominently in local art and folklore, and is a staple food in the region. Today, the Canary Islands are still an important producer of bananas, and the fruit continues to play a vital role in the local economy and culture of the region.
The economic impact of the banana industry
According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Canary Islands are the ninth largest producer of bananas in the world, with an annual production of around 1.4 million tons. The vast majority of this production is exported, with the European Union being the primary destination for Canary Islands bananas. In 2019, the value of banana exports from the Canary Islands was approximately €938 million, making it the third largest agricultural export for the region.
The economic impact of the banana industry on the Canary Islands is significant, with the industry providing employment for many people in the region. In 2019, it is estimated that the banana industry employed around 37,000 people on the islands, representing about 7% of the total workforce. In addition to direct employment in the industry, the production and export of bananas also generates income for many other businesses in the region, including those involved in transportation, packaging, and related services.
The production of bananas on the Canary Islands has also contributed to the development of infrastructure. The construction of ports and roads, as well as the expansion of shipping and air transport, has facilitated the export of the fruit to markets around the world.
Here are some recipes using bananas!
Canary Islands Banana Mojo -Ingredients:
- 4 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- In a medium bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, minced garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, paprika, salt, and cumin.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the banana mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have melded together.
- Serve the mojo as a dip for fried plantains or as a sauce for grilled fish or meats.
Canary Island Banana and Coconut Milk Pudding -
- 6 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- In a medium saucepan, combine the mashed bananas, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, transfer the pudding to a serving dish and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
Canary Island Banana and Almond CakeIngredients:
- 250g all-purpose flour
- 18g baking powder
- 5g baking soda
- 5g salt
- 150g sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100ml olive oil
- 300g ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 100g almonds, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease a 23cm round cake pan with butter or oil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the olive oil and mashed bananas and mix until well combined.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in the chopped almonds.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and serving.