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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.

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Old 12-09-2005, 08:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default California Gold from Mike

Mike gave me a generous amount of California Gold last season. Mike's California Gold is the heaviest bunch of banana fruits that I ever saw in Northern California. All grown outside without winter protection.

I was planning on using them for a banana recipe that required semi-ripe fruits, but the California Gold ripened before I had the chance to do so. I then let it really ripen some more, and then processed it into wine. It is currently fermenting, perhaps I'll get 2 gallons from this certified California Grown Banana! I plant to make sweet and dry wine out of this fruits.

California Gold fruits seemed to be a smaller version of the saba fruits. Based on some excerpts by Jeff Earl, he mentioned that certain Filipino immigrants used to grow them before he did. There was a mat that consistently fruited year after year in the Central Valley, and from there, Jeff Earl took the plant, and it was more than 20 years ago. I may have remembered this poorly, but all I can speculate is that California Gold may have its origin from Philippine saba, and mutated here or was some unknown hybrid with Saba as a parent. Only genetics test will show.

The fruit is only about a third of saba in volume. The taste and color of fruit is definitely like that of saba. There are some minor differences that I noticed. One is that when fully ripe, California Gold is not as sweet as a fully ripe saba, a feature that I like. When you cook (microwave or boil or grill) the California Gold fruit, the flesh becomes firmer, while that of Saba it becomes softer, again this is another character of fruit that I like. Overall, I like California Gold better than Saba, the only drawback is that the fruits are only a third of the size of regular Saba.

As to the aroma, California Gold is almost the same as saba when you eat them ripe but uncooked. When fully ripe and cooked, Cal Gold's aroma is not as strong as saba, which could be good or bad depending upon your affinity to the aroma of the cooked ripe saba. Most Filipinos would long for the aroma of the ripe saba when cooked, but for me that is so strong and have wish it to be toned down just like California Gold. You can go to your nearest Asian store, sometimes they carry saba fruits.

Last edited by JoeReal : 12-11-2005 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 12-11-2005, 07:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: California Gold from Mike

I was also a grateful recipient of some of Mike's California Gold. I was amazed at how heavy they were for their size.

Their taste was quite surprising to me. From what I had read, I was expecting a fruit that was more suited to being cooked rather than eaten raw. I found the fruit quite delicious when eaten fresh. Though not as sweet as a store-bought cavendish, the California Gold seemed to have a much richer banana flavor to me. I really enjoyed eating them uncooked.
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