When I think of flavorful, delicious tropical goodness it is the banana that first comes to mind. Sweet in flavor, creamy in texture, with hints of a tropical fruit bouquet, the banana is luscious to the senses.  Yet it is a simple, low cost fruit that is eaten more widely than any other in the world--over one billion annually.

In the United States, it is the most widely consumed fruit--more than apples and oranges combined--sadly averaging a mere 26 pounds per person each year.  Ugandans have the highest banana consumption, averaging almost 500 pounds each year.  I think the Ugandans are onto something.

Common Varieties: 

Cavendish--the most popular banana variety, this is likely the one that will be found in the average American supermarket.  It is sweet, creamy and rich.

Plantain--starchier and less sweet than the other bananas.  Before it can be eaten raw, the skin must be almost black or else the starch content will remain too high.

Red--sweeter than a yellow banana.  The flesh is creamy in texture and and a light orangish-pink in color.

Burro--less sweet than the Cavendish, with a creamy texture and a slightly tangy flavor.  The skin is somewhat rectangular, with squared off edges.  The peel has to be really dark before it is sweet enough to eat.

Nino--a small banana, about three inches in length, sweeter than Cavendish, rich and creamy.

Manzano--short and chunky with a mild apple flavor.


Known Varieties: 

Over 1,200--300 of which are edible

When in season: 
How to select: 

Any amount of green on a banana indicates that it is not ripe and not ready to eat. Bananas that are fully yellow are ripe, but become sweeter and less starchy as brown spots form. Bananas ripen easily off of the tree if allowed to sit on the counter for several days.

How to eat: 

Peel the skin and enjoy.

Native to: 

Southeast Asia

Serving Size: 
One Medium Banana
Nutritional Highlights: 

High in nutrients and minerals like potassium and iron and vitamins such as B6, C and A.

Caloric Ratio %