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Get Fresh & Fruity Banana

Class 1 - Costa Rica

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Banana

Pronounce it: bah-nah-nah

Probably the best known, most popular tropical fruit, their name probably derives from the Arabic for finger, 'banan'.

There are a number of varieties, inluding red bananas (which have a yellow-pink skin and flesh) and the small sugar bananas, which are around 3 inches long. But the most commonly sold type in the UK is Cavendish - the longer ones tend to come from Latin America, as they pick them later, and the smaller ones from the Caribbean, where they pick earlier.

All bananas are extremely nutritious; rich in potassium, riboflavin, niacin and fibre, and the rapid energy boost given by their high sugar levels means that they're a great snack.

Read our guide on the health benefits of bananas.

Availability

All year round.

Choose the best

To eat straight away, go for bananas with very small patches of black on the skin - that means they're ripe. Otherwise, choose yellow with 'green tinged ends' they can be ripened at room temperature. Bananas that are green all over are unripe, and can't be eaten.

Prepare it

Just peel and slice or mash.

Store it

In a fruit bowl. Putting bananas in the fridge will make the skins go black and everything else in the fridge smell of banana.

Cook it

Mashed and used to make banana bread or served with single cream and sugar. Pureed for smoothies.

Baked for 20 minutes in foil with the juice of half a lemon, a little butter, a couple of tablespoons of muscovado sugar and a splash of rum or cognac.

Barbecued for 10 minutes (make a small slit in the skin first) then split open and served with cream.

Peeled, halved, brushed with lemon juice, sprinkled with sugar and grilled until soft, then served with gammon or fish.

 

Banana recipes

French toast with bananas and maple syrup

French toast with bananas and maple syrup

By Allegra McEvedy

They are widely grown across the tropics and sub-tropics. They grow in hands (bunches) of five to 20 fingers. Depending on the variety, they can be small or long, thin- or thick- skinned, with yellow or red skins. They are picked when they are two-thirds ripe and slowly convert their starch to sugars as they’re shipped.

 

Recipes using banana

Main course

Honey-glazed guinea fowl with pomegranate and pineappleHoney-glazed guinea fowl with pomegranate and pineapple

By The Hairy Bikers

 

Wok-fried venison and jungle-style curry with lemongrass and lime Thai rice

By Ching-He Huang

 

Parsee fish in banana leaf with egg and peanut salad

By Cyrus Todiwala

 

Guinea fowl Maryland

By Glynn Purnell

 

Seared tuna with coconut chilli chutney and cabbage salad

By James Martin

 

Light meals & snacks

Fruity frittersFruity fritters

By Jo Ingleby

 

Brunch

Banana muffinsBanana muffins

By Fiona Hunter

 

Wheat cereal with banana and raisins

By Fiona Hunter

 

Banana and coconut porridge

By Fiona Hunter

 

Toast with mashed banana and yoghurt

By Fiona Hunter

 

Banana smoothie

By Fiona Hunter

 

Starters & nibbles

Thai fish cakes with a honey and cucumber dip Thai fish cakes with a honey and cucumber dip

By The Hairy Bikers

 

Spring rolls

By Jeremy Pang

 

Desserts

Banana cake with miso caramel and sunflower seed praline

By Chantelle Nicholson

 

Banana cream profiteroles with whiskey caramel

By Matt Tebbutt

 

Peanut butter fondants with cheat's banana ice cream

By Monica Galetti

 

Chocolate lava cake

By Donal Skehan

 

Banana and custard tart

By James Martin

 

Cakes and baking

Banana breadBanana bread

By John Barrowman

 

Chocolate banana cakeChocolate banana cake

 

Banana bran muffinsBanana bran muffins

 

Apple and raisin muffins

By Tom Kerridge

 

Banana millionaire's shortbread with banana 'ice cream'

By James Martin

 

Drinks and cocktails

Cardamom and beetroot smoothie sundaeCardamom and beetroot smoothie sundae

By Hemsley + Hemsley

 

Chocolate avocado shake Chocolate avocado shake

By Hemsley + Hemsley

 

Summer fruit smoothieSummer fruit smoothie

By Mary Berry

 

Breakfast smoothie

By Merrilees Parker

 

Mango smoothie

By Allegra McEvedy

 

Other

Eye-health smoothieEye-health smoothie

By Helen M. Rasmussen, PhD, RD Virginia Paige Murphy and RD Elizabeth J. Johnson, PhD

 

Summer pickle

By Richard Corrigan

 

Lemon or lime juice, natural yoghurt or soured cream all bring out the natural sweetness of the ripe fruit, especially in fools, drinks, mousses and ice creams. Lemon juice or acidulated water help prevent sliced fruit from browning in trifles and pancakes.

They are excellent cooked as fritters, flambéed, or simmered in coconut milk. Rum, orange, cardamon, toffee, vanilla, and chocolate are popular pairings. Mashed they give a moist, chewy texture to cakes and muffins. Over-ripe, chocolate-skinned fruit can be used in bread or ice cream, but add extra lemon to the latter before using.

 

Banana Article by Sybil Kapoor