In Uganda, bananas are a staple food for domestic consumption. They have been of incredible importance to Ugandans since time immemorial and their nutritional, cultural, and economical value is unmissable. Different types of bananas play different essential roles in Ugandan cuisine, in particular the Apple Banana, locally called ‘Ndiizi’, one of the smallest Ugandan varieties from the central regions of the country. It is in the Sembabule district, a rural area 1,200 meters above sea level, which experiences an exceptionally long dry spell each year. Therefore, the area is characterized by poor soils and a very arid climate, but the Ndiizi seems to have adapted perfectly to these conditions and can survive up to three years, if well managed.
Ndiizi bananas (Musa acuminata) are locally classified into two different cultivars, the small ndiizi omutono, small, pointed leaves and thinner fruits, and the bigger ndiizi omunene with broader leaves and bigger fruits. Both types are yellowish green on the outside with some black spots on slightly visible ribsI, while the fruit itself has a coconut cream color. Ndiizi ripens fast, within three days after harvesting. The well-ripened fruits are sweet, smell like apple, and taste a bit like pineapple. As mentioned, it is one of the smallest banana varieties in Uganda, with a length of around 5-6 cm. Ndiizi plants blossom and produce bunches throughout almost the entire year, if well managed. However, there is one major harvesting season, staring in March and peaking in April, while production during the rest of the year serves mainly home consumption.
The Ndiizi banana is either eaten raw, as a dessert banana (as pancakes, for example), but also in juice preparation. A typical beverage called omubisi is made with seven-day-ripe ndiizi, which is squeezed by hands, mixed with water, strained, and consumed within a day. In period of food shortages, unripe ndiizi bananas are peeled, dried in the sun, and ground to make banana flour, which is mixed with millet flour to make a dough locally known as obutta. Also, banana leaves are traditionally used to steam food and to substitute fat during the squeezing of the omubisi.
Byaluhanga Simon, Mwogyera Mayazi, Nanyomo Sophia, Byomwaisso Ivan, Natukwatsa Boaz, Ssenyonjo Christopher, Ssentongo Ahumed, Mwebembezi, Nambaziira Husula, Nakate Saidati, Nalukwago Judith, Kigundu Muhammed, Kembabazi Jastine, Ssemanda Fred, Nakalema Sarah, Ayebare Royce, Natukenda Docus, Mulezi Abdu, Rubinika Grace, Mugabi Edward
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