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The characteristics of bananas

Today, we’re going to discuss bananas, which are among the most loved fruits ever, valued for their flavour as well as their culinary adaptability. Actually, with certain combinations, bananas can be used to make a wide variety of desserts and dishes. I’ll address this topic in one of the paragraphs that follows. I want to concentrate on its organoleptic and botanical properties.

Bananas are cultivated intensively in all tropical regions, especially in America (the Musa Sapientium variety), Africa (Musa Paradisiaca), Asia (Musa Nana), Oceania, the Canary Islands, Fiji, and Samoa. The fruits (bananas) are arranged in sets, called bunches; a bunch can contain up to 250 fruits and weigh up to 30 kg. They appear as oblong berries with a triangular section, yellow-greenish or brown on the outside, containing a pulp that is yellow when ripe, with a sweet taste and a characteristic aroma.

Their sizes vary depending on the variety and range from 10–12 to 15–30 cm. Ripe bananas are made up of peel and pulp in very variable proportions depending on the size and variety (generally around 60% pulp and 40% peel).

The other properties of bananas

Bananas are marketed fresh or peeled and dried (in the sun or in dryers). With the fruits of Musa Paradisiaca, or with bananas of other species that are not completely ripe, flour is made for consumption. With a characteristic sweet taste, it is mainly used for infant nutrition; if instead obtained from waste materials, it is destined for zootechnical use.

Banana is a pseudoberry that belongs to the “Musa” herbaceous plant. It is frequently confused for a tree due to the fact that it has a pseudo-stem that grows up to six metres in height. While several types can grow fruit at different periods, the banana plant typically develops its fruit in the spring and summer.

In any case, banana is a valuable fruit since it provides a wealth of nutrients while having a low calorie content (65 kcal per 100 grammes). The main reference is to potassium, which is found in incredibly large concentrations. There have also been reports of high calcium and phosphorus concentrations.

The many varieties of banana

The banana that we are all accustomed to eating on a daily basis is the sole variation that exists in the collective psyche of the Italian people. That is actually only one of the many varieties of bananas that are available outside of Italy. I’ve listed a few of the most significant types below.

  • Cavendish. The common banana, the yellow-skinned one, needs no introduction.
  • Gros Michel. It is similar to the Cavendish banana, although it has a slightly sweeter flavour.
  • Grand Nain. Often confused with the Cavendish variety, it is characterised by a slightly firmer pulp.
  • A variety with a very soft pulp and a distinctly sweet flavour. It is widely consumed and is often cooked.
  • Lady’s Finger. A variety with very small fruits and a very sweet flavour, it is mainly consumed in Australia.
  • The fruit has a somewhat squat shape, and its flesh and skin are typically dark red in colour.

There are so many delicious ways to consume them

As specified at the beginning of the article, these fruits are the protagonists of some delicious recipes, especially in the confectionery sector. They can be used as a simple fruit, therefore contributing to the creation of interesting fillings, or they can act as a garnish, as in the case of the 4th of July tart. Furthermore, they can be combined with some apparently incompatible ingredients, such as chocolate. An example of this interesting combination is sushi, an interesting fusion recipe that I invite you to experiment with. Obviously, bananas can be used to make fruit salads, as demonstrated by the smoothie bowl.

Although they are available year-round, it is best to choose firm, plump, and undamaged bananas. The banana is fully ripe when it has tiny brown spots all over it. Purchase them whole, in bunches, and they will last longer. Bananas that are still half-green or green do ripen at room temperature.

Those that are fully ripe can be stored for a few days in the refrigerator; in this case, the peel will become dark brown but the flavour will not be altered.

What are bananas good for? Nutritional properties and their benefits

When it comes to their nutritional profile and potential health advantages, bananas are unmatched by other fruits. Primarily, the reference is to the potassium supply, which is a tonic not only for athletes. Along with all its advantages for hypertensives, potassium also controls blood pressure.

Bananas are among the few sweet foods that can be consumed by diabetics; in fact, their glycemic index is lower than that of many other fruits.

Banana also contains many vitamins, such as vitamin A and C. The first is good for the eyes and skin; the second benefits the immune system and helps the body absorb iron. Finally, bananas benefit liver health as they are rich in biotin.