The banana is a mildly sweet tropical fruit related to the starchy plantain.
Characteristics[edit | edit source]
Bananas are always picked green. When green, they have a high starch content and a "green" taste somewhat like kiwifruit. As bananas ripen, the starch is converted to sugar, and the peel turns yellow before developing brown spots that eventually merge to make the banana completely dark brown.
Nutrition and diet[edit | edit source]
Bananas are a nutrient-dense food, contributing to a healthy diet. They are relatively high in calories, and a medium-sized banana has about 110 calories (460 kilojoules). They also provide potassium calcium, carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. The banana helps prevent both constipation and diarrhea.
Other[edit | edit source]
Bananas are very easy to bruise, which will make them brown and mushy on the inside. Banana ripening produces ethylene gas, so most types of fruit will also ripen when placed in a bag with ripening bananas.
Storage[edit | edit source]
When stored at room temperature, bananas will progress through the ripening process, eventually turning completely brown. To store bananas long term, they may be frozen either in the peel or peeled in an airtight bag/container. Note that when refrigerated or frozen, the banana peel will turn dark brown but the inside will remain unaffected.
Use[edit | edit source]
Bananas may be eaten plain or used in cooking. A banana is generally best from immediately after the spots appear until the spots begin to merge, but this is a matter of personal preference. Firm is better for eating out of hand or in fresh fruit recipes, while the softer and riper stage is generally better for baking. Frozen bananas can be coated in chocolate and eaten as a treat. Green bananas can be used as a vegetable and cooked by boiling or frying. Dried banana chips are often available—choose brown ones (without sulfur dioxide) if you can find them.
If substitution is desired, use pawpaws instead of bananas. Pawpaws are generally more nutritious than bananas.
Seasonality[edit | edit source]
|Seasonality tables|Autumn|Winter|Spring|Summer|All year|
Bananas are a typical non-seasonal fruit, which means they are available fresh all year. They are usually grown in tropical countries.