How many types of bananas are there?

Amazingly, estimates put the number of different types of bananas in the world at almost 1,000! Many of them are not yellow and curved and of course we only eat a small proportion of them. Fancy a look at the unbelievably diverse world of bananas? Discover the most important variants of this popular fruit and their typical features.

The traditional dessert banana is the one we are most familiar with. The most important of these is probably the “Cavendish”. The high-fibre dessert banana is harvested all year round, it arrives on our shores by reefer ship and 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 sweet flavour. Dessert bananas taste sweetest when their skin is already somewhat bruised.

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 colour 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.

Plantains look different to the Cavendish version as they are flatter and longer. They contain less sugar but more starch. Depending on the colour, 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 flavour, the yellow and black fruits of these types of banana are softer and sweeter.

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

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

Your Dole team

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