Bananas are one of the most popular fruits worldwide. They contain essential nutrients that can have a protective impact on health.
There are around 1000 different types of bananas all over the world, and each of them comes with unique color and flavor! This article will take a look at some of the best types of bananas you can have!
1. Cavendish Bananas
These bananas are the most common variety, easily available in supermarkets in the United States. They are available in young unripe green to fully ripe, smooth yellow to riper dark yellow with brown spots. You can add them to smoothies, pancakes, or banana bread.
The most widely exported banana in the world, the Cavendish has a sturdy peel that travels well. Almost all bananas sold in the United States and Europe are this variety.
2. Gros Michel
This variety has a similar taste and size as Cavendish. It is not available as freely as the other varieties. Gros Michel has a sweet taste, a strong smell, with a creamier texture, and can be used in the preparation of banana pies!
Also, known as Big Mike, this was the top-exported banana until much of the crop was wiped out by a fungus in the 1950s. It’s similar in taste and size to Cavendish and still available in some places.
3. Lady Finger
‘Lady Finger’ bananas are 4-5 inches long, cigar-shaped sweet fruit. They have a bright yellow thin peel with dark flecks when fully ripen. The flesh is creamy and more delicious than the other common banana varieties. Lady Fingers are sometimes labeled “baby (niño).”
4. Blue Java
Blue Java bananas have a vanilla ice-cream-like flavor, and are also famous as ‘Ice cream bananas.’ They have silver-blue skin that turns pale yellow when ripe. The fruit has aromatic soft and sweet flesh. Add them to smoothies or relish their distinctive taste raw!
Also, known as ‘apple bananas,’ they are stout and plump, with a thick firm peel and a light, creamy flesh. Young apple bananas have a tangy and sweet taste with a hint of apple.
When the fruit ripens, they have a tart-apple aroma and a flavor of tropical profile with notes of strawberry and pineapple. Manzano is the most popular dessert variety in the tropics.
6. Red Bananas
Red bananas have red-purple skin, sweet flesh with a pink and orange tinge. Few of them are small and plump than Cavendish bananas. When fully ripen, they have a cream to light pink flesh. Some of the fruits have a slight raspberry taste, and others have an earthy flavor.
7. Goldfinger Bananas
Goldfinger variety is native to Honduras. It is cold-tolerant, wind, and disease-resistant. The fruit has an apple-like sweet flavor and does not turn brown when cut. This variety is a cross between Cavendish and Lady Finger.
8. Nanjangud Banana
This banana variety is the most important crop in India. It is grown in the Mysore and Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka, India. The fruit is famous for its unique taste and aroma and slightly tart flavor, because of a distinct method of cultivation and black clay alluvial saline soil around Nanjangud.
9. Praying Hands
Praying hands bananas are an unusual variety with two adjoining ‘hands’ that grow merged, hence the name. These bananas are relatively less sweet than other types and have an exceptional vanilla flavor.
Cooking or Plantain Bananas
Bananas falling in this category have a neutral taste and are generally boiled, fried, or roasted due to more starchy texture and low sugar content. You can also consume them raw when ripe.
Cooking bananas, or plantains, are a staple in many parts of the world, including the Caribbean, Central America, and parts of Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia.
10. The Orinoco
Also, known as “burro,” these are thick fruits with an angular shape and salmon-tinted flesh. Orinoco banana is hardy, that survives well in cold climates and winds. They require support when bearing huge heads of fruit.
The texture becomes silky and soft when they mature, with a firm and fibrous peel. However, these bananas are comparatively starchy but have a delicious sweet taste and smooth texture.
Fehi banana has orange to red skin, with yellow or orange flesh. It is considered more nutritious and delicious when boiled or baked. This variety is stated as ‘unpleasantly astringent when eaten raw as the fruit has a higher amount of starch and low sugar compared to the other banana varieties.
These copper-toned fruits sometimes have seeds. They’re tasty when boiled or roasted.
Bluggoe banana bears fruits in large and straight shapes. This variety has a starchy texture and is resistant to Panama disease. Though it can be eaten raw people in Burma, Thailand, southern India, and East Africa use it for cooking only.
13. Macho Plantain
Macho Plantain is common in Florida. It is the most popularly grown variety in the United States. This variety has a deep sweet-and-sour taste, making it perfect to fry or saute in butter or roast on the grill. They may be eaten ripe or unripe and are generally starchy
14. Pisang Raja
Also Known as Musa Belle banana, Pisang Raja is a popular variety in Indonesia. It has a slightly grainy texture and sweet flavor with a thick peel. The fruit is popular in the preparation of banana pancakes, which is a famous snack in Indonesia.
15. Lady’s Finger Bananas
Lady’s Finger bananas are small, thin-skinned, and sweet than the mild and long Cavendish variety. You can use them in the preparation of portion-control snacks for kids. They are popular in salads, thanks to their small size!
Lady Finger bananas (also known as sugar bananas, fig bananas, or date bananas) are diploid cultivars of Musa acuminata.
16. Barangan Bananas
Barangan Banana has a mildly sweet taste, with yellow-colored peel with black dots. Its flesh is seedless and pure white. This variety is quite popular and enjoyed as a dessert in many regions across the tropics.
17. Dwarf Jamaican
Also, known as Cuban red banana, it turns sunset yellow when ripe. It is smaller than the Cavendish variety and has creamy to pink flesh with a raspberry flavor. You can slice and use in salads or eat it raw when ripe.
18. Rhino Horn
The largest of the bananas, Rhino Horn plantains are from Africa and can grow up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) long.
Large-scale commercial banana production impacts the environment in some concerning ways, including:
- Like much of modern agriculture, a majority of the world’s banana harvest comes from large-scale monoculture farming operations. Growing a single crop over a long period depletes the soil. And monocropped soil tends to suffer more agricultural contamination, as the same fertilizers and chemicals are added to it, year after year, leading to the accumulation of heavy metals, nitrates, and salts, which may even lower the soil’s ability to help plants fight off pests or withstand blight.
- Bananas are often sprayed with large amounts of pesticides. In fact, some banana farms receive nearly 60 pesticide applications every year. This is not only a concern for consumers but also the surrounding environment and ecosystems that are negatively impacted.
- Between 1968 and 2017, world banana production grew from 28.8 million to 113 million tons. As consumers buy more bananas, there’s a danger that rainforests and other sensitive ecosystems may be destroyed in order to create more land on which to grow them. India and China both doubled their land use for banana harvesting between 2000 and 2015.
The bottom line:
Bananas are nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed as a sweet snack or a savory side. They’re categorized as either dessert bananas or cooking bananas, which you may know as plantains.
It’s well worth seeking out different types, especially if you’re traveling to a tropical destination — as over 1,000 varieties are available.
Get organic bananas whenever possible because organic banana farming avoids the use of synthetic pesticides and tends to be more sustainable.
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Please let us know in the comments below:
- Were you familiar with these types of bananas?
- Do you grow any bananas yourself? If so, what type?
- Did you learn anything surprising in this article? If so, what is it?
Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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