Seattle has many Asian grocery stores throughout the city where you can find a wonderful array of tropical fruits, including bananas. For grocery stores, see the links at the end of this article. Bananas are commonly divided into two basic types: dessert or sweet bananas and green cooking bananas or plantains. Names are complicated because wild species have mutated, many varieties have been cross-bred, and the nomenclature changed in 2002. However, some of the common species include varieties of Musa sapientum, Musa x paradisiaca L., Musa acuminata, and Musa balbisian.
Bananas are tropical plants that are native to India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. Today, bananas are grown in tropical regions throughout the world and are the fourth largest fruit crop, behind grape, citrus fruits, and the apple. The primary growing regions (based on worldwide production) are in Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and other countries), Southeast Asia, and Africa.
The banana plant is a large herb, not a tree. The banana fruit is technically a berry. Bananas come in a variety of colors. The fruit turns from deep-green to yellow, red, or purple, and may also be striped green-and-white. Bananas range in size, from two to twelve inches long and up to 2 inches in diameter. Bananas may be bulbous with blunt ends or may be elongated, curved, and pointed.
Bananas range in flavor and texture from sweet to tart and creamy to grainy. Wild bananas are often filled with black seeds and may contain very little flesh. Cultivated bananas are crossbred to be mostly or completely seedless.
Under-ripe bananas ripen at room temperature in just a few days. Refrigerating ripe bananas will keep delay further ripening for up to two weeks; although the banana peels will darken, the bananas remain firm. Over-ripe bananas turn soft and mushy and the peels turn black, even at room temperature.
Recipes using bananas
- Easy banana ketchup recipe (for bananas or other tropical fruits)
- Easy banana bread recipe
- Low-fat banana bread recipe
- Banana cake recipe
- Passover Banana Cake
- Burnt-Sugar Bananas Upside-Down Butter Cake recipe
- Banana nut muffin recipe
- Banana muffin recipe — made amazing by a crumbly topping
- Easy banana pudding recipe
- Banana smoothie breakfast shake recipe
- Banana bread French toast recipe
- Rum lime mango coconut banana smoothie cocktail recipe