Some people say that banana hearts are the new superfood and there are clearly many health benefits. Whether we believe in this or not, one thing is for sure true: banana blossoms have high nutrition values in proteins, fibres, potassium, calcium and magnesium just to mention a few and it is possible to prepare delicious dishes from them.
Madeira is Banana
In Asia, the banana flower is used traditionally in many ways and in Madeira, they are neglected or left for decomposing. Madeira is known for banana plantations since the XVI century and from the XX century, the number of banana plantations has increased significantly, currently reaching to 700 hectares and approx 18,000 tons of production.
The ingredients for our Madeira Banana Hearts project lie in front of our feet and as part of our commitment to contribute to the global climate action and support creating sustainable communities we just have to pick them up and use them. Therefore, we use the banana blossom as supplements and also as meat/fish replacement ingredient. We create snacks, dishes with the local, regional tastes that are delicious and also fusion meals.
We are living in a world full of challenges, driven by climate change, the covid19 pandemic, just to mention a few. Now more than ever sustainability, regional sourcing and proper use of regional resources are vital not only so that we are reducing our CO2 footprint but also because of the fragility of international supply chains.
Sustainability and circular economy
Madeira’s economy is dependent on travel and tourism and the following years will also bring challenges in these areas due to the covid19 pandemic and the global economic crisis following such, thus economic challenges arise for the island. Enhancing the agricultural industry and creating more agricultural products with added value can be a contribution to the regional economy and result in decreasing poverty, hunger and creation of sustainable communities. In line with Miguel Albuquerque’s recent declaration, it is important to deepen, as much as possible, food self-sufficiency in Madeira and it is also essential that the consumption of vegetables and fruits produced in the region are favoured.
Also, a global trend has emerged in the past years to support responsible consumption, reduce meat consumption and to find an appropriate replacement for meat, mainly for protein intake. David Attenborough emphasises that it is very important to reduce meat consumption in order to decrease deforestation, save endangered species and thus the planet.
Madeira Banana Hearts are responding to these global and local goals, needs and challenges with small steps at a time. We create added value products, participate in feeding the people of Madeira, to reduce dependency on fish, meat and products from outside of Madeira and to make sure that we are using our regional products well and in case issues in the food supply chain emerge, the island can remain longer self-sustainable in terms of food. Also, as more and more people become conscious about responsible consumption, sustainability and climate change, they also become more and more aware of the need to reduce meat consumption. Furthermore, vegetarian and vegan citizens and travellers get more common also in Madeira, thus it is important to offer traditional tastes and local alternatives to meat for them.