Do you know that there are 1,000 or more types of bananas? Yes, bananas there are more than 1,000 banana types, and these are subdivided into 50 groups. And bananas are a herb and not a tree. It is related to ginger since the plant has a succulent tree stem instead of a wood one. They grow in what are known as “hands,” and many “hands” make up the larger stalk known as “bunch.”
Everyone eats bananas, and 150 countries grow these fruits; the most common variety you see in export markets is the cavendish. These bananas are not only delicious but are also good for the body. Here’s a list of banana varieties that are available in the markets.
Types of Banana
Here is a list of different types of banana that you can enjoy and these are highly nutritious. Although some may not be easily found in the markets you might come across them on your next travel.
These bananas are named after William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire” and are known as the most common variety. Like most bananas, cavendish has green peel at first; then, it becomes yellow when fully ripe. It has a long yellow, slightly sweet, creamy smooth texture flesh that everyone loves. We often eat Cavendish bananas fresh, but they can also be fried and mashed or chilled to add pies and puddings.
A new strain of Panama disease is threatening the production of the Cavendish varieties. The Panama disease is a deadly disease that virtually wiped out the Gros Michel bananas in the 1950s.
2. Apple Banana
Apple bananas are a hybrid cultivar of the Musa balibisiana banana plant, a Musaceae family member. These types of bananas are native to Central and South America. They are grown in subtropical and tropical regions, specifically the Hawaiian Islands, Honduras, Malaysia, Mexico, and the Philippines. These bananas have other names like latundan, manzano, and silk banana.
These bananas are stout and plump with a thick taut peel. The flesh has a light, cream color, and the texture is firm when young, then when they are ripe, they are tender and creamy. The young apple bananas are both tangy and sweet with apple nuances. When the fruit ripens, it will have a more tropical flavor. The banana also has a memorable, complex scent marked by a robust tart-apple aroma.
3. Williams Banana
The Williams bananas are a cultivar of the giant cavendish type. It is believed to first appear as a tall mutation in a Chinese cavendish plantation in Australia in 1910. It has a huge, cylindrical bunch with up to 300 evenly sized and shapes fruits that point evenly upwards. The fruits of this type of banana are 15-23 centimeters long and are slightly curved.
4. Lady Finger Banana
Lady finger or sugar bananas, date or fig bananas, and finger bananas, are native to Australia and Southeast Asia. These bananas are naturally sweet but a little smaller. They have cigar-shaped fruit with thin, bright yellow skin that will develop dark flecks when fully ripe. The flesh has a creamy consistency.
These bananas are best for salads as they don’t oxidize or turn brown when cut. You can also add them to pies and puddings.
5. Red Banana
As the name suggests, these bananas have reddish-purple skin. There are different types of red bananas – some are smaller and plumper while others are much larger – like the Red Jamaica and Macabu. These red bananas, when ripe, have a flesh that is cream to light pink. It is softer and sweeter compared to the yellow Cavendish varieties. Some red bananas have a slight raspberry flavor, and the others have an earthy flavor. And, you can eat these red bananas either raw or cooked into desserts.
Plantains are native to India and the Caribbean. They are starchier and lower in sugar compared to the other types of bananas. The fruits are usually larger and more rigid, with much thicker green, yellow, or dark brown skin. These bananas are treated more like vegetables than fruit. And, are cooked before eaten instead of eaten raw because of its high starch content, and the flesh is tough and not very sweet. You can add bananas to baked goods, roast them, or fried them up as a side dish.
Saba, also known as English Saba, cardaba, sweet plantain, compact banana, and papaya banana, is a native of the Philippines. It is primarily a cooking banana, but it can be eaten raw. The fruits of this type of banana are 8-13 centimeters long and 2.5-5.5 centimeters in diameter. It has a distinctive squarish and angular shape, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Saba is ideal for cooking because of its while and starchy flesh; however, it is not as firm as the plantain. When you cook saba, it has a state somewhat like a potato. Once the fruit is ripe, it is slightly sweet with hints of citrus and peach.
8. Blue Java
The blue Java banana types are hardy and cold-tolerant, known for their sweet aromatic fruit. It is also known as a blue banana, ice cream banana, Hawaiian banana, ney mannan, krie, or cenezo. These bananas have a bluish-or blue-green peel when unripe, and the peel turns to pale yellow when ripe. The fruit has a creamy texture with ice cream-like consistency and a flavor that is reminiscent of vanilla.
Niño or baby bananas are stubby and are sometimes sold as lady finger bananas. But, niño bananas are shorter than lady fingers, with an average length of 3 inches. They have thin green skin that turns bright yellow with black spots when fully ripe. And the flesh has a sweet, honey-like flavor.
Burro bananas are similar to cavendish but are shorter and stubbier. It slightly resembles the Saba banana but tastes differently. These banana varieties have dark green skin that turns to deep yellow with black spots when fully ripe. The banana fruit’s flesh is creamy white to yellow, and the center is firmer when ripe. It has a lemony banana flavor when fully grown and tart when eaten unripe.
There are all kinds of banana you can find in the supermarket. Some may be a little pricey since they are imported and some could be affordable as they are locally grown. Just make sure not to eat too much, you should only eat one or two bananas a day. But, one thing is for sure banana is pack with vitamins and minerals that is good for the body’s health.
For a list of different health benefits, bananas bring to our body and health, you can read 13 Benefits of Bananas to Better Health and Body.