Cooking Saba Banana in Microwave Oven

One of the simplest way to cook saba banana is by boiling. Ripe saba bananas are place in pot with water. Then boil for 15 to 30 minutes depending on fruit sizes – larger requires longer cooking times.  During boiling, the banana absorbs water, gelatinization of starch occurs and shows color changes. Bananas of optimum ripeness get bigger, heavier and tougher. Overripes on the other hand get softer and lighter. Both exhibits change in peel and pulp color and taste – brownish peel and pulp color and less sweet taste.

I tried another simple method, cooking bananas in microwave oven. I think it is more simple than boiling. It requires no water and needs lesser cooking time.

Sides of bananas were pierced with a fork. This prevented bursting during very fast heating. Placed directly on rotating plate. Then cooked for two minutes at high setting.

ripe saba banana and fork

The single whole banana was steaming hot from the inside and out. Minimal changes on peel and pulp colors were observed. Overripe bananas exhibited shrinkage while the rest were able to maintain their shapes and sizes. It tasted better than plain ripe and boiled bananas and seemed more attractive.

microwave cooked saba bananamicrowave cooked saba banana peeled

Preparing Mild Ginger Tea in Microwave Oven, a test run…

We have an American Home brand microwave oven at home. We never intended buying it. We will never do even if we have lots of spare money. It was a winning from an office-based raffle.

microwave oven timerWe rarely use it. Sometimes cooking popcorn, reheating foods and boiling a cup of water. It is believed that non-usage of electric appliances lead to failure. On the other hand, too much use might also lead to the same circumstance plus more electric bill.

The real reason why we rarely use it? The power rating on its back is scary. It is rated 2000 watts. This microwave oven is against our electricity saving policy, only use equipment with least or reasonable wattage.

Is using microwave oven cost more or less? Here is a very simple computation.

I prepared a mild ginger tea. A small ginger piece was thinly sliced and placed in cup half-filled with water. It was then heated in microwave oven for 2 minutes at medium high setting.

If I am going to used the oven at full setting for one hour, then the power consumption will be two kilowatts. That will cost me 16 pesos based on my estimated eight pesos per Kw, computed from our monthly electricity bill.

The per minute consumption is 34 watts. I used 2 minutes in preparing mild ginger tea. That will be 68 watts which cost only 0.272 centavos. An additional 8.16 pesos on monthly bill if I gonna prepare it on daily basis.

One hour daily used might yield an average of 480 pesos per month.

I think a two-minutes daily tea preparation is fine!

Ripe Cavendish and Lakatan Banana Should be Green

We used to grow four banana varieties. The saba, latundan, lakatan and kwarenta dias or 40 days. It was trimmed down to only one now, the saba banana.

Latundan. It is the common round and short bananas commonly sold in public markets. Usually bright yellow with numerous dark red spots. Yellow with noticeable specs of green when rare ripe. Fully yellow and softer when fully ripe.

Kwarenta dias/40 days. They are saying that the number of days from shoot emergence to fruiting and to ripening is 40. The variety gathered its name from it. Not sure if it is true or not. It is not popular due to its relatively small size. A single peeled finger is only as big as adult man thumb.

Saba. We are calling it the lazy farmer’s crop. Why? The only hard part in management is planting. Then several new shoots will grow from its corm. The mother plant will bear fruits once. The several shoots will also grow and bear fruits and the cycle continues. The variety is resistant to competing weeds and pest. It requires minimal supervision. This saba banana is like a pot of gold.

Saba is a plantain or cooking banana. It can be eaten raw and ripe but it is best for making banana chips, ketchup, powder and vegetable dish garnish.

Lakatan. A banana variety similar to latundan. However, it is longer but thinner. The taste qualities are the same but lakatan never go yellow when ripe.

Buyers judge a ripe and delicious banana by its color. The green ripe banana is not appealing.  Growing kwarenta dias was discontinued due to its very small sizes, obviously not profitable. Latundan was discontinued cause it is weak against pest and diseases. Lakatan was discontinued cause it is weak against pest and diseases plus it never go yellow when ripe.

I saw some fellow farmers harvesting extra large bananas. Mom said it was cavendish. They never want to plant it cause it never go yellow when ripe, just like lakatan variety.

Perhaps the yellow lakatan and cavendish for sale were treated with ethylene solution. A plant stress and ripening substance that can also induce breakdown of chlorophyll.

Is Glucose Actually Tastes Bitter?

From a reputable person working in laboratory and teaching variety of Chemistry subjects. Only few sugars and non-sugar substances taste sweet. Fructose is the sweetest sugar. Glucose is not sweet, it actually tastes bitter. Sucrose is sweet cause if compose of glucose and fructose molecule. It is the fructose component which makes sucrose sweet.

I rarely use glucose syrup. It taste sweet but the white table sugar is far sweeter. Further explanation: It has other sugar added to attain the sweet taste, e.g. fructose, aspartame etc…

I want to disagree but I want to believe too. I have not tasted any analytical grade glucose crystals yet. Anyone?

A substance is perceived as sweet by the tongue sweet taste buds. Somebody in yahoo answers explains that sweet sugar has free aldehyde group that interacts with the sweet receptor. Starches have also free aldehyde group but not enough because they have relatively big molecule size. Glucose is sweet cause it has a free aldehyde group and a relatively small molecule.

Sucrose sweetness is denoted by value number 1. Any sugar or non-sugar substances with lesser or greater value means less or more sweet respectively.  According to wiki, fructose value is 1.17 to 1.75, about twice as sweet as the reference.  Glucose has value of 0.74 to 0.8, about 20% to 26% less sweet.  The artificial sweetener aspartame can be 250 times sweeter.

I found no article stating that glucose actually tastes bitter! Is glucose actually taste bitter?

My First Day of Masteral Classes

It was my first day of Masteral schooling. Classes are scheduled only on Saturdays. I was a bit excited and a bit nervous. New classmates and familiar professor faces. It was not surprising cause it was the university where I used to work several years ago.

I am taking up Master of Science in Agriculture Major in Horticulture. It is related to my undergraduate course, B.S. in Agriculture Major in Food Processing.

Post graduate studies which are more related to food are posted but not offered. I wonder why? Attending in other distant universities was not included in my plans. I am a home-based self-employed  and at the same time baby sitter of our young boy and future baby girl.

The following are my current subject loads:

post it with courses

Agri 201 – Experimental Design. I have lot of backgrounds regarding this subject matter. It was a second part of my previous professional work. We did a lot of studies with lots of experimental designs. My current professor is more knowledgeable than me still. I must pay attention to this!

Agri 202 – Agricultural Biochemistry. The Food Processing Major has lot Chemistry courses. The Food Technology course has lot more Chemistry courses. A very interesting subject. It explains all reactions involve in living and non-living things. However, I always got very sleepy when Chemistry discussion starts. Time to get some chewing gum.

CRSC 230 – Crop Physiology. It is closely related to Agricultural Biochemistry but more specific. It can also be called Plant Biochemistry. I am very interested with it is a pre-postharvest technology subject.