In the *almost* words of Gwen Stefani, this list is bananas… B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Well, it’s about the different types of bananas, anyway.
And there are a bunch!
Bananas are fantastic fruit. Obviously, they’re delicious, but they’re incredibly healthy, too.
They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and several other nutrients, like potassium.
Plus, they’re low-calorie! This is probably why they’re so popular with gym-goers.
From fresh bananas to pies, to chips, to tostones, bananas are incredibly versatile.
You’ll find delicious banana dishes around the world.
And I can’t wait to share some of my favorite types of bananas with you!
17 Types of Bananas
Bananas come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There are thousands of varieties, but today, I’m talking about 17 of the best.
Each one of these varieties falls into one of two categories: dessert or cooking bananas.
Dessert bananas, as the name implies, tend to be sweeter.
So, they’re better for eating fresh or baked into sweet treats. Bananas Foster, anyone?
Cooking bananas are more savory and great for dinner dishes! They’re starchy, kind of like potatoes, and totally delicious.
And you can prepare them in a myriad of ways.
But no matter how you peel them, all of these bananas are delectable!
1. Red Bananas
Maybe it’s their red color or their raspberry-like taste, but these are a must-try! Red bananas are sweet and delectable.
Many say they’re sweeter than common yellow bananas (we’ll get to those later).
And they definitely have a higher content of vitamins and nutrients.
So that makes them absolutely fantastic for eating fresh!
Here’s the dish on Cavendish bananas.
They’re the ones you probably know best! At least if you live in the West. They’re yellow, sweet, and totally delicious.
Cavendish bananas are the bananas you’ll find at your average grocery store.
They make amazing parfaits, smoothies, cream pies, and banana bread.
And they’re perfect for snacking on the go or making peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
3. Blue Java
If you’ve tried to make healthier food choices lately, you’ve probably heard of nice cream.
You can find recipes all over the internet. And most of them contain bananas.
Well, blue java bananas are the bananas to use! And it’s because they taste exactly like vanilla ice cream. So, they’re perfect.
They get their name from their silvery-blue peel. They’ll ripen to a light yellow.
When they’re ready to eat, they have an amazingly smooth and creamy texture.
The name’s Banana… James Banana.
Goldfingers are extremely hardy and they survive a lot, kind of like James Bond.
They don’t turn brown and they have a super sweet flavor. They’re amazing fresh or in desserts.
Though these bananas may not be as well known as the spy movie, they’re fabulous. And you have to try them!
“I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas!” Well, with Manzano bananas, you sort of get them in the same fruit.
They have an apple-like flavor that is simply amazing.
They’re also a lot stubbier than your average bananas. So, they also kind of look like apples, hence their name.
6. Gros Michel
Gros Michel translates to Big Michael, which makes sense because they have a big flavor!
In fact, they probably taste the most banana-y of the bananas on this list.
So, that makes them delicious!
7. Lady Finger
Contrary to the large size of the Gros Michel, Lady Finger bananas are quite small.
So small, in fact, that they’re sometimes called baby bananas. But their flavor is larger than life!
Lady fingers taste incredibly sweet, like honey.
They’re practically dessert on their own. But, they make really delicious banana cakes!
Wanna hear something confusing but fascinating? Bananas are berries, but raspberries are not.
And Mysore bananas taste like raspberries, so they’re berries that taste like a non-berry.
And they look like your average banana.
9. Praying Hands
Named for the unique way in which they grow, praying hands are an interesting cultivar.
They’re actually used as both a dessert and cooking banana.
On their own, they’re not that sweet. However, they do have a wonderful vanilla flavor.
That makes them perfect for baking or flambéing. Hello, Bananas Foster!
They also happen to be extremely nutritious, which is always an added bonus.
Cooking Bananas (or Plantain)
Orinoco bananas, otherwise known as burro bananas, are extremely versatile, like praying hands.
They look a bit like Cavendish bananas, only less round.
When they’re unripe, Orinocos are used for cooking.
They’re starchy like potatoes and make really delicious sweet and savory dishes. They go very well with pork dishes!
But when they’re ripe, they can be eaten raw. Though, they are nowhere near as soft as dessert bananas.
They have a slight lemon flavor and they’re quite tasty.
They’re much better for cooking, though.
If “F” is for fire, then these bananas got it right.
They’re not spicy, but their color is gloriously orange-red. And a whole bunch looks like an upside-down campfire.
Fehi bananas are also extremely good for your health.
They’re chock-full of potassium, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals.
They should be baked or boiled before they are eaten.
Otherwise, they have a very harsh and unpleasant flavor.
Though, some brave souls eat them raw for their nutritional bioavailability.
This funny-named banana is seriously savory. And totally tasty! Some say it tastes like salmon.
They have a great texture, much like potatoes.
That makes them incredibly hearty. So, this is a fantastic meat alternative for vegans!
13. Macho Plantain
If you see plantains in your local store, they’re most likely macho plantains.
Macho plantains are commonly grown in Florida, so they’re very popular in the States. And for good reason!
They are delicious! Macho plantains are a little sweet and a little sour.
They fry amazingly well, but I love them grilled. Oh, and plantains are incredibly good for you!
They’re loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants.
So, regular consumption can guard against cancers, heart disease, and skin aging.
If you’re unsure how to prepare these delicious plantains, look to Caribbean cuisines.
Cuban, Haitian, Jamaican, and Puerto Rican recipes are a great starting point.
14. Pisang Raja
One of my absolute favorite street/take-out foods is pisang goreng or fried bananas.
And that Indonesian treat (which you MUST try) is traditionally made with pisang raja.
Pisang rajas are cooking bananas that are actually pretty sweet.
They have a honey-like flavor. Honestly, they could be dessert bananas, and some lists do classify them that way.
I classify them as cooking bananas because they really need cooking to be enjoyed properly.
And dessert bananas are yummy raw while these are less so.
15. Barangan Bananas
Barangan bananas are delicious, mildly sweet bananas that come from Southeast Asia. They taste scrumptious fried or baked!
As with most bananas, they are loaded with fiber and potassium. So, they are quite healthy!
You know when they’re ready when they start dressing in black polka dots.
16. Dwarf Jamaican
Dwarf Jamaican bananas are one of the more stunning banana varieties.
They begin yellow-green but ripen to an almost purple-red, with oranges and reds in between.
So, they’re kind of beautiful, but they’re also delicious!
They have a sweet, raspberry-like flavor that makes them perfect for most dishes. They’re also pretty yummy when fresh.
However, they are best baked into desserts or turned into nice cream.
As a bonus, their leaves are great for using to grill meat.
17. Rhino Horn
Many banana varieties are quite big, like the Gros Michel or the macho plantain.
And their names often indicate a bit about their characteristics.
I think you can see where I’m going with this.
Rhino horn bananas are native to Africa, and they are huge! They can grow up to 2 FEET in length. Plus, they curve like a rhino horn.
They are aptly named, I think.
Rhino horn bananas are very versatile. They’re commonly eaten fried but can be eaten raw. But they’re also used as decor!
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