Bananas are a kind of fruit that originated in tropical nations and is now widely cultivated. The yellow-colored peel and starchy soft flesh of the common banana make it a long-curved fruit. Bananas come in a variety of sizes, forms, and colors, with over 1,000 different varieties. Little red bananas, long elongated green bananas, purple bananas, and chubby infant bananas are just 3″ (7.5 cm) long, for example.
The Musa genus in the Musaceae family encompasses all banana types. Bananas are a kind of berry fruit that grows in over 150 countries and is botanically classified as such. Bananas are thought to have originated in West Africa, and the fruit was known as banaana locally in the native African language.
Bananas and the banana plant have a variety of uses that go beyond their healthful fruit. Bananas tree fiber, for example, may be utilised to make clothes, while banana leaf packaging is widely utilized for food. The Cavendish banana, apple banana, baby banana, red banana, and plantain are just a few of the various kinds of bananas discussed in this article.
Bananas come in a variety of colors, including red, blue, purple, green, and black. You’ll learn about the different hues of bananas here. You’ll find out why eating bananas is so beneficial to you at the close of the article.
Common Types of Bananas (With Pictures and Names)
Let’s take a look at some of the most common bananas available in stores. We’ll also take a look at some lesser-known types of bananas that are only available in health or specialty shops.
Cavendish banana cultivars are the most widely grown type of banana across Southeast Asia, and they belong to the Musa acuminata species. These are the most popular banana types available in shops. Cavendish bananas are estimated to account for roughly half of all bananas produced and shipped globally, according to several reports.
In the Cavendish banana subgroup, there are several banana cultivars. When immature, Cavendish bananas are green, just like other bananas. They become bright yellow as they mature, with black/brown spots appearing on the skin. Cavendish bananas are often purchased while they are still green and will ripen in a few days. The ‘Dwarf Cavendish,’ ‘Giant Cavendish,’ and ‘Williams’ are some of the most common Cavendish banana cultivars.
Cavendish bananas are a sweet variety of fruit, which is one of the reasons they are so popular. In reality, they’re a dessert banana, too. Raw, they have a delicious soft flesh. Cavendish bananas’ sweetness increases when they turn brown, and they may be utilized to make banana bread or smoothies.
Gros Michel (Big Mike) Bananas
The Gros Michel cultivar was the most popular type of banana before Cavendish bananas took its position, and it is one of the largest cultivars available. The huge size of the banana and its thick peel make it one of the best export bananas, along with being one of the most popular. In Western countries, these large lengthy bananas are no longer as plentiful as they once were.
In the 1950s, a disease devastated the majority of the crop, and Cavendish bananas have since overtaken all other varieties. In Asia, however, Gros Michel banana cultivars are still grown the most, with Thailand and Malaysia accounting for the majority of production. ‘Big Mike’ bananas are preferred by many consumers over Cavendish bananas. The creamy texture and stronger, sweeter flavor of Gros Micel cultivars are distinctive.
Burro bananas are a kind of yellow banana that is shorter and chunkier than Cavendish bananas. These are just little bananas that reach a maximum of 6 inches (15 cm). They have a squared form and a stumpy appearance. As the banana ripens, the dark green flesh becomes golden yellow.
Burro bananas have a tangy flavor and a solid feel until they are fully mature. Their flesh gets much sweeter and has a thick feel as they mature. Burro bananas are excellent for cooking because of their firm texture and may be eaten raw.
Manzano Bananas (Apple Bananas)
The Manzano banana cultivar (also known as Latundan banana) is a kind of short banana that is similar to the apple banana. This is a short banana with a pudgy appearance, which may not be the tiniest variety. These little bananas are only around 4 inches (10 cm) long when fully ripe. A cross between Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, Manzano bananas are classified as a hybrid cultivar. Latundan bananas, Silk Bananas, and Apple Bananas are some of the names for these fruits. Manzano fruits have a firmer feel than Cavendish bananas.
Manzano bananas start green and progressively turn yellow as they mature, as with most banana varieties. Wait until the thick skin has almost turned black before eating this bananas variety. In comparison to Cavendish bananas, the soft flesh will be much more tasty and sweet. When fully ripened, their sweetness may resemble the tropical flavors of pineapples and apples. Manzano (apple) bananas are a rich source of potassium and other minerals, which is one of the reasons they’re called that.
Lady Finger Bananas
Lady Finger bananas (a cultivar of Musa acuminata) are Southeast Asia’s most popular banana cultivar and one of the smallest varieties. They have a delicate, creamy texture.
Lady finger bananas are also known as the “Sugar banana,” “Fig banana,” or “Date banana” because of their intense sweetness. Bananananana fritters are frequently made by deep-frying them in batter. Because they are one of the smallest types of banana, Lady Finger bananas are sometimes known as “baby” (Nino) bananas. These little bananas are just 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. In reality, the little bananas may be held in the palm of your hand.
Lady Finger bananas have yellow skin with brown dots when they are fully ripe. The thin banana skin is removed to reveal moist banana flesh with a honey-like flavor. Other types of banana cultivars are referred to as ‘Lady Finger bananas’ in some countries. The Pome banana (Musa acuminata and balbisiana) or Ney Poovan banana, for example, are called ‘Lady Fingers’ in Australia. They are not as squat or chunky in shape as Burro or Manzano bananas.
Red bananas (Red Dacca) are a type of banana cultivar with crimson skin and creamy pink flesh that are sweet and delicate. In comparison to Cavendish bananas, red banana cultivars are smaller, sweeter, and softer. Red bananas, on the other hand, may be bigger than conventional bananas. The region where bananas grow is usually used to classify red varieties. Red Spanish, Red Cuban, and Red Colorado bananas are examples of this. The wonderfully sweet flavor of these red bananas is one thing they all have in common. A Red Cavendish banana variety is also available.
Make sure to wait until the red bananas are ripe before consuming them if you discover where to purchase them. Unripe red bananas have a chalky, unpleasant texture and flavor. The peel becomes reddish-purple in color when they are mature. A thin creamy flesh that is semi-soft is revealed when the skin is pealed. The flesh of certain red bananas is yellowish-orange. When you bite into it, you get a taste of bananas and raspberries.
Red bananas, like yellow Cavendish bananas, may be eaten raw. You may also make a delicious hot sweet dessert by baking or toasting them. Red bananas are a good source of nutrients, just like most bananas. Red bananas, on the other hand, contain more beta carotene and vitamin C than yellow bananas.
The amount of B-carotene in the flesh increases as the orange/red hue gets deeper. Several individuals believe that these are the finest kind of bananas available, since they’re considered “organic.” Indeed, some research suggests that consuming orange-fleshed red bananas may be a suitable strategy to avoid vitamin A deficiency.
Blue Java Bananas
Blue Java bananas are a unique blue green banana cultivar that is well-known for its unusual flavor and feel, akin to ice cream. Blue Javas are also known as the Ice Cream banana, for a reason. The color of the peel as Blue Java bananas mature is one of the most fascinating aspects.
The translucent light to sky-blue hue of unripe bananas is vivid. As they grow beneath huge green banana plant leaves, these clusters of blue bananas stand out. Blue Java bananas change color as they mature, much like other varieties of bananas.
What do Ice Cream Bananas taste like? Some people believe that Vanilla Custard is the most precise description. The skin of a ripe banana is yellowish and dotted with silver streaks. Blue Java banana trees are popular decorative plants and are most often found in Hawaii. This banana tree is a excellent shade plant because of its large drooping blueish-green leaves and cold hardiness.
Rajapuri bananas are a medium-sized, very sweet Indian banana that is typically eaten in Asia. A attractive plant that thrives in full sun is the Rajapuri banana plant. Rajapuri bananas’ extremely sweet flavor is one of the reasons why they are so popular in Asia. The fruit’s meat has a firm, rich feel with a touch of creaminess. This banana cultivar from India grows between 5″ and 6″ (13 – 15 cm) in diameter on average.
The Rajapuri banana is a decorative plant that is suitable. In comparison to typical banana trees, which may reach 25 ft. (7.5 m) in height, the dwarf banana tree only grows to about 10 ft. (3 m) in height. Its vast leaves spread out from the stem, providing plenty of shade throughout the garden.
Plantains (green bananas) are a type of banana with starchy flesh that is not sweet, similar to dessert bananas. Plantains are not as sweet as other banana varieties, which distinguishes them from other banana types. Plantains are more starchy and less flavorful than regular bananas, which is why they’re utilized for cooking.
Before they reach full maturity, plantains are frequently cooked. When fried, boiled, or steamed, their hard, firm texture and tough peel hold up well. Plantains may also be left to mature and develop into a typical banana color. Ripe plantains have a considerably softer flesh, but they lack the dessert banana’s sweetness. Plantains are a common food in many tropical nations. In the Caribbean, Central and West Africa, and Southeast Asia, they are a common snack.
Green cooking bananas, comparable to plantains, are extensively used in African cuisine in several countries. When they’re unripe, East African Highland bananas are roasted. These are utilized in a comparable way to true plantains, despite the fact that they are not. The Musa genus encompasses both plantains and bananas. Plantains have a lower starch level than bananas, and they are less sweet. Plantains are used as a starchy vegetable rather than a sweet fruit when cooked.
How to Tell When Bananas are Ripe
Bananas may be eaten at any point of maturity, which comes as a surprise to many people. The banana tree/plant is harvested when it is still green, and the majority of bananas are harvested this way. They ripen over a period of 8 days or so. According to the color of the peel, here are the stages of banana ripeness:
Green Bananas have more starch than sugar and are not yet ripe. Green bananas, like plantains, are often used in cooking. Green bananas aren’t particularly delicious, despite being edible.
Green and yellow Bananas will be sweet and almost ripe. Depending on the variety, their pulp is usually firm and slightly dense. Bananas are either eaten raw or cooked at this point in their maturity.
Yellow peel When bananas are at their peak ripeness, they’re called “on bananas.” The meat should be succulent and tender, with a pleasant bite. Dessert bananas such as the Cavendish are sweet, fragrant, and simple to consume at this point in their evolution. They’re typically suitable for cooking, even though they’re still hard.
Yellow peel and brown markings The banana flesh appears to be quite ripe, as seen in Figure 30. The banana will be very sweet at this point, and the flesh will be very soft.
Brown bananas Overripe bananas will have a mushy consistency and a powerful flavor. Desserts or smoothies are the best ways to use this banana variety.
Why Bananas Are Healthy for You
Bananas are a nutrient-dense fruit with few calories. Bananas aren’t just good for you to eat; the peel is also full of nutrients. A 7″ (17 cm) long medium banana contains 105 calories and is rich in vitamins and minerals, according to studies. Fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese are all supplied by each banana.
Don’t throw away the banana peel because it is a good source of antioxidants if you enjoy a healthy smoothie in the morning. Banana skin, for example, has gallocatechin, a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical cellular damage. According to research, it has this substance.