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Bananas

What are bananas? About the ingredient bananas. Including 1,076 recipes with bananas, nutrition data, photos, and where to find it.

About

Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red. In popular culture and commerce, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet "dessert" bananas.

Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma.

Individuals with a latex allergy may experience a reaction to bananas.

Bananas contain considerable amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. The latter makes them of particular interest to athletes who use them to quickly replenish their electrolytes.

Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma.

Individuals with a latex allergy may experience a reaction to bananas.

Bananas contain considerable amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. The latter makes them of particular interest to athletes who use them to quickly replenish their electrolytes.

bananas

Bananas are seedless fruit grown on a plant that resembles the palm, each plant bearing a single bunch of fruit. To those who enjoy the smooth softness of ripe bananas, it may come as a surprise to learn that this plant is first cousin to the tough, fibrous Manila hemp plant.

Bananas are harvested green and their food value and flavor are the result of carefully controlled conditions and temperatures during ripening.

Originally the banana tree was native to tropical Asia, perhaps lndia, for ancient Greek and Arabian writers have called bananas "the remarkable Indian fruit tree". Judging from the quantity of fresh bananas sold in the US alone, it is clear that they have always been held in high esteem world wide, for their botanical name (Musa sapientum) means fruit of the wise men. But man, wise or foolish, isn't the only creature to find them delectable. A tropical American oriole is so fond of the fruit that it is called the banana bird.

There are some thirty species of bananas, which look and taste quite different from each other. There are red bananas, and greenish bananas, and bananas with a flavor reminiscent of apples and peaches, and some with a more delicate or richer flavor.

The plantain is the best known of these varieties, with a fruit that is larger, less sweet, and starchier than the usual banana. Some bananas are not suited for eating raw, but must be cooked, fried, boiled, or baked to become palatable.

These are often used as a vegetable rather than as a dessert, and can be found in stores in Puerto Rican markets.

Bananas are one of the diet mainstays in the West Indies. Central and tropical South America, the Pacific Islands, and throughout Central Africa.

They sustain life better than other tropical starches, such as arrowroot or tapioca, and when only a small amount of growing space is available, bananas will support more people than wheat. Any house or hut in the banana-eating regions around the world has its own little grove of trees nearby where the fruit grows like weeds. Commercially, bananas are grown on on enormous plantations.

The banana tree itself has has enormously long pointed leaves which usually hang in shreds giving the tree a disheveled appearance.

This ruggedness is one of nature's ways of guarding its own against damage from the elements, causing the leaves to shred rather than to break off under the pressure of tropical storms and torrential rains.

If the leaves broke when beaten by the elements they could no longer fulfill their purpose of sheltering the growing fruit.

Availability

Bananas are available year round with a peak season in March, April, May and June. Main sources are Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, and other Central and South American countries.

Purchasing Guide

Look for firm, unblemished, plump fruit, irrespective of their size.

Sold now in small bunches, mainly by weight. It is better to buy them by the bunch rather than singly, for single bananas deteriorate more rapidly.

Fully ripe bananas are flecked with brown. These are best for fruit cups, salads, Desserts, beverages, eating out of hand and as an ingredient in baking.

1 pound = 3 medium bananas or about 2 1/4 cups, sliced; or about 1 3/8 cups, mashed.

Storage

For green or slightly green storage at room temperature is best. Let ripen slowly and naturally to the point desired: slightly green for cooking, yellow skin with brown flecks when fully ripe and suitable for eating. Chill only before using.

Room temperature - when green: 5 days

Refrigerate (not below 50 degrees F.) - fully ripe, 3 or 4 days.

Pulp remains flavorful and edible even if peel darkens. Slice fully ripe bananas into bowl. Beat with fork, rotary beater or electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Or whirl in a blender (this makes a more liquid product). 

One medium banana makes 1/3 to 1/2 cup of mashed banana.

Freezer after being prepared for freezing: 1 year

Preparation

Peel, then slice directly into food in which it is used ( salad, fruit cup, gelatin, etc.).

To serve plain: peel, slice lengthwise or crosswise, sprinkle immediately with lemon, orange, pineapple, or other fruit juice, or with an acidulated ascorbic-acid mixture to prevent darkening.

Chill in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

To decorate slices: remove peeling completely, brush with fruit juice, score lengthwise using tines of stainless steel fork. Then slice as desired.

To freeze—Mash ripe bananas. Add lemon juice or acidulated water, ascorbic acid or a citric-acid preparation to prevent darkening. (Citric acid preparation is sold in the dietetic department of grocery stores and is used in amounts specified on the package.)

Defrost and use in cooking where mashed bananas are a recipe ingredient.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 NLEA serving (126g)
Amount per Serving
Calories 112Calories from Fat 3
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.4g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.1g 1%
Trans Fat ~
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 28.8g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 13%
Sugars 15.4
Protein 1.4g
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 18%
Calcium 1% Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your caloric needs.

Where found

Bananas are usually found in the produce section or aisle of the grocery store or supermarket.

Food group

Bananas are a member of the Fruits and Fruit Juices USDA nutritional food group.

How much do bananas weigh?

measure grams
1 cup, mashed 225
1 cup, sliced 150
1 extra small (less than 6" long) 81
1 small (6" to 6-7/8" long) 101
1 medium (7" to 7-7/8" long) 118
1 large (8" to 8-7/8" long) 136
1 extra large (9" or longer) 152
1 NLEA serving 126

In Chinese:香蕉
British (UK) term: Bananas
en français:bananes
en español:plátanos

Recipes using bananas

There are 1104 recipes that contain this ingredient.

100% Whole Wheat Banana Bread
50 percent Reduced Fat Banana Nut Bread
Addictive Banana Crunch Muffins
Ahmad Rashad's Banana Pancakes
Ahmad Rashad's Banana Pancakes
Alice's Banana Nut Oatmeal Muffins
Alice's Banana Oat Bran Muffins
Allethea Wall's Brown Sugar-Banana Pound Cake
Almost Non-Fat Banana Bread Muffins
Almost Whole Wheat Banana Bran Muffins
Almost Whole Wheat Choco Banana Peanut Cookies
Almost Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Muffins

All 1,104 recipes

References

See more about bananas over 7 years ago
Usda nutrition data almost 3 years ago

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