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Dole Banana Farmer

Love Bananas?

How many types of bananas are there?

Explore these other varieties

Amazingly, estimates put the number of different types of bananas in the world at almost 1,000! You may be surprised to know that many of them aren’t that classic yellow hue we’ve become so familiar with – and many don’t have that classic curve either!  Course we only eat a small proportion of them (in fact there are nearly 500 edible varieties). Curious to know more?  Read on 😊

The traditional dessert banana is the one we are all most familiar with.  It’s known as the “Cavendish". The fiber rich dessert banana is harvested year-round in tropical climates and arrives on our shores by cargo ship and it only ripens when it reaches its destination. During the ripening process, the green skin of this type of banana turns yellow and the fruit acquires its beloved sweet flavor. Dessert bananas taste sweetest when their skin is spotted with brown flecks, or even darker! 

An interesting but somewhat smaller version of the dessert banana is the red banana. As the name suggests, it has a reddish-brown skin, which, depending on how ripe it is, tends to change to various shades of purple. The flesh of the banana ranges in color from deep red to intense yellow. Like other dessert bananas, the red banana can also be eaten simply as a snack or prepared as part of several dishes.  It’s been described to have a hint of raspberry in combination with traditional banana flavor. 

Plantains look different to the Cavendish version as they are flatter and longer. Often classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit they contain less sugar but more starch than their Cavendish cousins. Depending on the color, they are perfect for roasting, frying or boiling and are appreciated in their native Ecuador as a popular substitute for potatoes. While the firm green plantains have a mild flavor, the yellow and full black stages offer softer texture and sweeter flavor.

Good things come in small packages! Baby bananas, also known as niños, ladyfingers or gourmet bananas have a surprisingly intense flavor. These small bananas only grow to around 10 cm in length and are creamier than their larger relations. Typically, they have a thin skin that ranges in color from yellow to light pink.

Long live your love of bananas and enjoy getting to know the different types!

Published February 1, 2022

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