Banana leaves are very common in tropical countries such as Indonesia, due to the warm climate. Because of this, banana trees can be seen anywhere: from yards to forests. The wide distribution of banana leaves is associated with their daily use, especially in the villages.
For example, banana leaves can be used in cooking as a side dish, wrap or plate; in medicine, body treatments, religious rituals and other.
Unfortunately, the benefits of banana leaves are little known in the west. But, nevertheless, we will tell a little about the benefits of banana leaves, as well as the benefits of banana leaves for hair. Learn that eating 2 bananas a day is helpful.
How to use banana leaves?
Banana leaves are among the most versatile plants, due to their large, flexible, waterproof, but durable characteristics.
When cooking, as mentioned above, they are mainly used as a side dish, wraps or plates. Banana leaves are widely spread in the countries of :
- Southeast Asia,
- Latin America,
- Caribbean cuisine,
because they add flavor to the food it contains, protecting baking products, in fact, better than foil. For example, dishes that include banana leaves include, for example, Indonesian rice dishes satay, Indian rice from banana leaves.
In religious rituals, banana leaves have decorative and symbolic purposes, in both Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies or offerings to the gods. For skin care, banana leaves can be used as a body wrap during a spa treatment, as shown in a traditional Balinese spa. Indeed, banana leaves were also used as one of the earliest surfaces for writing in South and Southeast Asia long before the invention of paper.
What are the health benefits of banana leaves?
Banana leaves contain epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG is a polyphenol, which is similar to those found in green tea. EGCG belongs to the family of catechins, contains 3 phenolic rings and, of course, some amazing antioxidant properties.
Banana leaves are rich in antioxidants
Which are attributed to the level of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that is in them? As an antioxidant, it protects cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals cause a number of diseases and disorders, from the lungs, as during aging of the skin, up to chronic and life-threatening people, such as cancer, stroke, atherosclerosis, and cardiac arrest.
Banana leaves are suitable for skin care.
Minor dermatological wounds and conditions, such as eczema or sunburn, can be treated with banana leaves. In the sense of treating sunburn, it can be treated by soaking the leaves with cold water and applying them to the affected area. And then there is also a special Bali wrapping procedure that uses banana leaves. This special type of skin care product is mixed with green clay to re-moisturize, rejuvenate and saturate the skin.
Banana leaves are used in the treatment of hair.
Then the banana leaves provide hair care in terms of getting rid of dandruff. As you can understand, dandruff not only causes discomfort, causing itchy scalp but also leads to problems of self-esteem, such as a significant decrease in self-esteem and comfort in society.
On the other hand, banana leaves have also proven to be able to maintain our natural hair color, thanks to the binder and allantoin properties they contain. You can gradually get rid of dandruff using hair masks made from fresh juice from banana leaves.
Banana leaves treat skin problems.
Let’s also talk about the medicinal properties of banana leaves. It is true that banana leaves act as a medicine to treat various common skin problems, such as rashes, insect bites, bites and irritations caused by bees, ants, spiders or other insects. That is why banana leaves are also referred to as “natural eraser”. Banana leaves can be useful in the absence of insect repellent lotions or the inaccessibility of nearby medical procedures. Acne? – Use egg white soap.
Banana leaves support skin cell growth.
Skin renewal with banana leaves is made possible by the chemical composition that it wears, like allantoin. Allantoin is usually found inside the leaves of plants, including those from a banana tree, and can be considered as an active ingredient for cosmetic lotions and creams. Allantoin, when applied to the skin, helps to make healing faster, kill germs, and also stimulate the growth of new skin layers.
Banana leaves protect food.
Banana leaves protect the food contained in it, so a banana leaf is used in various cultures for cooking or packaging. This is due to the fact that the food becomes more aromatic, hygienic, neat, slow decay rate and protects it from extreme temperatures, such as burns. In terms of tastes, since food is placed on the leaves, the leaf wax melts and is absorbed in the food, thereby making it better. Be sure to try banana bread!
Banana leaves are resistant to decomposition.
Banana leaves are environmentally sustainable because they eliminate the need for plastic or foam for food packaging. As we all know, these two elements are not biodegradable and require a significant amount of time for decomposition.
Banana leaves are hygienic.
By default, banana leaves are hygienic, and this requires a little cleaning work. In order for it to be ready for use, only water is needed to rinse the banana leaf. And then, due to its protective nature, banana leaves can also make food inside protected from germs, bacteria or viruses, especially in areas where hygienic standards are largely questionable.
Low in banana leaves have almost no chemicals.
Here is the final advantage of banana leaves for hair. Possessing a low content of chemicals, it makes a banana leaf useful and organic when it gets on the scalp. On the other hand, the hygienic properties of banana require only a brief rinsing with water for sterilization, which reduces the need for detergents, which can also pose a risk to the food that is there.
Banana leaves serve many purposes in Asian cuisine, from adding flavor to foodstuffs cooked inside them, to simply use as a colorful and exotic background for serving plates and parties. Banana leaves are beautiful, fun to use and easy to prepare!
Buying banana leaves
Banana leaves are very inexpensive to buy – a few dollars for a large package. Buy banana leaves fresh or frozen in large flat plastic bags at a local Asian supermarket (check the freezer if you can’t find them on the shelf or in the produce section).
Cooking with banana leaves
- Banana leaves can be used to bake something “wrapped” – in the same way, you would use tin foil or parchment paper.
- However, note that banana leaves are porous (as opposed to tin foil), so some of the “sauce” or juices from your food product can leak out.
- Therefore, it is recommended to place your “packages” from a banana leaf in a glass saucepan or tray with sides so that the juices do not drip onto the bottom of the oven.
Banana leaves for grill / barbecue
You can also use a banana leaf as a kind of “mate” for a barbecue of brittle fish fillets, small shrimps or vegetables that can fall through the grill. Just put a piece of banana leaf on the grill, and then cook your food on it (as with tin foil). First, the banana leaf will turn bright green and then brown as you cook. This will give a nice hint at the taste of your food, which is very nice.
Banana leaves for maintenance
A banana leaf also makes a great backdrop for serving various Asian dishes – great for parties or fingers. Or simply chop the banana leaf (rinse well with hot water and wipe dry) and use it to level the dish, serving plate or bowl. The banana leaf dresses the dish, adding an exotic touch to any Thai or Asian recipe.
Food on a banana leaf
This is probably the “funniest” part of using banana leaves in cooking – eating them! Any dish cooked on a banana leaf can also be served to/from it – in fact, it makes the dish even more beautiful to serve and eat. It also makes a wonderful starter talk at lunches! For an example of a good recipe to do this, check mine: Thai fish in banana sheets.
Banana Leaf Storage
Usually, you will have leaves after you finish making a recipe or serve your food, as they are sold in large packages. So that everything else is used later, just wrap it in plastic (make a plastic bag, fasten it elastic) and keep it in the freezer. A banana leaf only needs about 30 minutes to thaw, so this is a convenient way to keep it fresh. When used for a week, store them (wrapped in plastic) in the refrigerator.
- Use scissors to cut the banana leaves to the size you need, depending on your recipe. For wrapping and baking products you need a large “sheet” or sheet.
- A banana leaf is also great for steaming, as it allows couples to get inside or above food. You can use a banana leaf to level the steamer or wrap your food and then release it.
- Protective banana sheet “packages” with toothed plates inserted and stitched through the sheet. Or simply place the seam-side bag down so that it does not open.
Ideas for baking with banana leaves
- Try to wrap chicken, fish or seafood or other meat on banana leaves and bake them in the oven.
- First, mix in a small curry paste, then wrap in a sheet (square bags are the easiest to do).
- Secure the package with toothpicks or simply place the seam-side package down so that it does not open when baking. For recipes that use a banana leaf, see the links below …
- Banana leaves can be composted when you finish using them.