Sweet Banana

Frost last night blackened part of the garden. Bad enough to burn the brillantsia, the sweet potato leaves, and a good part of the basil. Not hard enough for the tomatoes, peppers, dahlias nor strawberries for that matter.

I spent most of yesterday’s afternoon picking up the remaining ripe tomatoes (mostly cherries and ‘Princepe Borghese’), the large green ones that I can fry, greens beans, strawberries and lots of peppers. Which reminds me to talk about one of my favorite pepper sweet pepper: ‘Sweet Banana’.

Sweet Banana peppersAs you can guess from the name, it’s yellow (a pale yellow maturing orangey/red) and it’s elongated, up to 6 or 7 inches long. According to Burpee, Sweet Banana was an AAS (All American Selection) Bronze Medal winner for 1941. I can certainly understand why it still is popular: in the garden, it’s handsome, easy, vigorous and fruitful, that’s why. It ripens early, remains productive throughout the season – until killed by frost, really. While the plant is fairly small, as peppers go, it is vigorous and erect, holding its fruit well so they don’t trail on the ground.

In the kitchen, its sweet mildness lends itself to a variety of preparations. Slowly fried, roasted or grilled, they are wonderful as side dish to meat, but also on sandwiches or tossed with pasta. They make tasty pickles, either cut into rings (the easier to pack the jar) or even whole. Sautéed they bring a nice taste to turkey cutlets, to fajitas or to a quick vegetable stew. They stir fry well. Of course, you don’t have to do anything to them, and you can just munch on them AS-IS.

If you buy the plant or the fruit, make sure you are buying the sweet pepper ‘Sweet Banana’, not the hot yellow banana also know as Hungarian wax. The surprise would be quite painful!

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