Now, I’m always a little cautious with food related activities because I don’t want to encourage playing with food instead of eating it and sometimes negative food experiences can influence the children’s willingness to try new food items.
My plan was to compare the new red bananas with familiar yellow bananas so as I prepared morning snack I sliced the bananas like this;
I tried a piece of red banana – advance preparation while the children were all still playing. The experience was not what I expected. For what seemed like an eternity I debated about trying to swallow the partially chewed banana slice or spitting it out.
I finally managed to swallow it. It wasn’t the flavour that bothered me – actually, I wasn’t even certain that it had any noticeable flavour. I was focused on the texture – it was horrible – grainy, dry…not like anything I have eaten before.
There was no way I could serve these red bananas to the children. Most of the children love bananas – these red bananas might change their opinion of bananas forever! The children happily ate their YELLOW bananas with homemade biscuits and milk for morning snack.
The red bananas were left sitting on the counter while I did some research and debated about what to do with them now. I wondered if they were maybe just not ripe? I love under ripe yellow/green bananas because of the texture. If the red ones were just under ripe would that account for the horrible texture?
I checked the red bananas daily – after a full week they finally seemed to soften a little. Tentatively I tried another small piece. It was fabulous! Wonderfully sweet, mild banana flavour and perfect texture. Today we would have yellow and red bananas for afternoon snack.
I showed the children the whole red banana and asked them to identify it. “Banana!” was the unanimous response so I asked if they noticed anything unusual about the banana. The responses included;
- “They are tiny.”
- “They are straight, not curved.”
- “They are made of meat – ham.”
OK, this is not at all what I expected. I asked if they noticed anything about the colour. They replied that the bananas were red – a fact they seemed to think was so obvious that it wasn’t even worth mentioning. Now, enough talking, let’s eat.
Everyone loved the red bananas as much or maybe more than the yellow bananas. The only exception was the one child who doesn’t like yellow bananas – she wouldn’t even try the red ones.
I doubt the response would have been the same if I had given them the bananas last week. I guess that they are ripe now but the colour hasn’t changed, just the flavour – and the texture.