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Our Favourite Jamaican Herb… Bananas!

/ The Green Way

Jamaica Banana HeavenSo many people visit Jamaica to pay homage to their favourite herb, we often wonder how many of them know that bananas are in fact perennial herbs, zingiberales, just like their distant relative and our favourite garden flower, heliconias.

Bananas in Port AntonioHerb trunks aren’t as strong as tree trunks and last winter following Hurricane Sandy our gardens’ bananas like so many small holders within the Port Antonio area took a battering. Thankfully the stalks grow underground and then push up, interweaving with one another to form their packed trunk; 6 months on from the hurricane, our gardens bananas are in flower again and we’re just waiting for that Jamaican luxury of ‘branch’ ripened bananas, no ripening factories or brown paper bags for us and yes you can really taste the difference.

Banana FlowerDespite its lush Caribbean location, not all of Portland’s trees were so fortunate. On Earth Day, as a developing nation who directly feels the damage that the changing weather patterns bring through climate change, we’d like to call on banks to follow the 2013Unburnable Carbon Report:  Capital and Stranded Assets that advises companies to disclose their fossil fuel emissions and be rewarded /invested in accordingly.

We’re celebrating the world’s favourite fruit and Jamaica’s other herb by sharing our banana ice-cream recipe on Earth Day which, despite the gloom and burning of our planet, is also the perfect way to celebrate our most wonderful and beautiful of hosts.

Jamaican Banana Ice-Cream Recipe


2 cups  whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups cream


  • Heat milk until it simmers in a double boiler, whisk egg yolk with sugar until pale yellow.
  • Gradually whisk in milk, place on top of simmering (not boiling) water and cook stirring constantly until  it is the consistency of custard thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add vanilla and cream, chill
  • When the ice-cream is half frozen, crush the ice crystals and stir in the mashed banana with lemon juice and put back in the freezer to set.
  • Serve  with chocolate wafers

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