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Can we have more bananas?

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brucesw Mar 6, 2012 12:44 PM

There are two types of common, yellow supermarket bananas imported into the USA I understand, Dwarf Cavendish (Dole and Del Monte), and Grand Nain (Chiquita). We also get big yellow bananas here imported by Turbana, a Colombian company, and big yellow type bananas with no brand name on the sticker, just country of origin (Guatemala and Costa Rica) - I have no idea what variety they are.

But we also see a number of other varieties that are not big yellow bananas, mostly imported by Turbana. I like some of them better.

Mostly these other varieties lack the infrastructure for processing and shipping to challenge the dominance of the Dwarf Cavendish and Grand Nain; there is also customer resistance from unfamiliarity and pricing but they may be the bananas of our future. I hope, I hope.

What can you get where you live? (and where do you live, anyway?). Which are your favorites and why. What should we be bugging the produce manager to get?

My list:

Baby bananas - I haven't detected anything special taste-wise about these but I've only tried them a couple of times. Am I missing something?

Manzanos - these are the apple-flavored small bananas. Apples are one of my favorite fruits and I like my apple-flavored fruits to be crisp and juicy so my brain says 'what the heck is this?' I'm not real big on them.

Red Bananas - the best - luscious and creamy when fully ripe, with hints of vanilla.

Burros (from Mexico, also known as Orinocos if from Venezuela and I've seen them with a sign calling them Pear bananas, though the sticker said Burro). Short and stubby, sort of angular rather than round in the skin but oval when peeled, with citrusy notes and a slightly crisper center.
Not as great as red bananas but more interesting than the common supermarket types.

Sabas - only saw these once and didn't buy them; one of several varieties grown in the Philippines, these are the bananas used in banana ketchup.

Green bananas - No Gas - see these sometimes. There was a thread here on CH about green bananas that never ripen but I bought some of these last summer, when the ambient temp in my kitchen was in the 80s most of the day. They ripened in about a week and a half and were the tastiest big yellow type bananas I've had in a long time. Some bought this winter however took forever to ripen, even in a paper bag with ripe bananas, and were nothing special tastewise.

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  1. hotoynoodle RE: brucesw Mar 6, 2012 12:56 PM

    the monoculture of the cavendish is a disaster waiting to happen.

    http://www.mnn.com/food/stories/banan...

    we have the no-gas bananas now, the small red ones and the burros, as well as baby yellows. i don't care for bananas though, lol.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle
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      brucesw RE: hotoynoodle Mar 6, 2012 03:25 PM

      Yes the supposed impending demise of the popular supermarket banana is one of the reasons I started the thread.

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      benbenberi RE: brucesw Mar 6, 2012 02:06 PM

      I picked up a bunch of little "apple bananas" at an ethnic grocery last week. I normally like my (Cavendish) bananas at the point of just-barely-ripe, but the apple banana was completely inedible (bitter/astringent) at that stage, and even when fully yellow it was still harsh and unpalatable. But when I let it develop to the brown-speckle stage, it was sweet, creamy, and very tasty. Not at all apple-like, though. An interesting novelty, and one I'd be willing to eat again.

      1 Reply
      1. re: benbenberi
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        brucesw RE: benbenberi Mar 6, 2012 03:26 PM

        Never had that problem with a manzano but the red ones can be very difficult to judge when they're ripe - the skin can be soft and mottled and the fruit itself still hard, chalky and unpalatable. I've had to throw several away after peeling them too soon.

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