PRODUCT INFO Banana flowers have a starchy, fibrous consistency and a neutral, subtly bitter, and fruity flavor well suited for fresh and cooked preparations. The outer, dark-hued bracts should not be consumed, but they can be used as a decorative serving vessel. As each bract is removed, the small florets can be separated from their tough stamens and set aside for use with the flower's heart. Once the bracts have been peeled away to reveal a yellow-white hue, the heart can be sliced into pieces and incorporated into recipes. It is recommended to immerse slices of the Banana flower in salted lemon water or vinegar water for at least 20 to 30 minutes to extract some of the bitterness. Banana flowers can be added to fresh fruit and green salads, and younger flowers will have a sweeter flavor for raw preparations. They can also be minced into dips, dumplings, and pastes. USES Beyond fresh preparations, Banana flowers can be lightly steamed and served with dips, similar to an artichoke, boiled in coconut water and stir-fried, or incorporated into curries and soups. The flowers can also be fried into patties, soaked in flavoring, cooked like fish fillets, or sauteed into vegetable, rice, and noodle dishes. In Thailand, young Banana flowers are commonly served raw on the side with pad Thai. In Indonesian cuisine, Banana flowers are mixed with pork and hot sambal, cooked in a section of bamboo, and served as a festival or wake appetizer. In Brazil, Banana flowers are incorporated into pies, quiches, and cooked into various sweet and savory goods. There is also a famous pastry in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais known as pastel de agnu that has its own festival. The festival annually occurs in the city of Itabirito and features food vendors, local growers, restaurants, and arts and crafts vendors, all centered around the famous pastry of the region. Pastel de agnu is comprised of Banana flowers stewed with meat and then fried into a dough-like puff. Banana flowers pair well with spices such as turmeric, curry powder, mustard seeds, cumin, and chile powder, aromatics including garlic, shallots, onions, lemongrass, and galangal, coconut milk, macadamia nuts, lime leaves, papaya, and carrots. Whole, raw Banana flowers should be immediately consumed for the best quality and flavor. The flowers can also be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator, or cut pieces can be placed in a sealed container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. In addition to fresh Banana flowers, the buds can also be found canned or frozen for extended use. SEASONS Banana flowers are found year-round, varying in availability depending on climate, region, and hemisphere.