Get Fresh & Fruity Bananas

Class 1 - Costa Rica

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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.


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

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.

Light meals and snacks

Fruity fritters

By Jo Ingleby


Banana 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 and nibbles

Thai fish cakes with a honey and cucumber dip

By The Hairy Bikers

Spring rolls

By Jeremy Pang


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 bread

By John Barrowman

Chocolate banana cake

Banana 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 sundae

By Hemsley + Hemsley

Chocolate avocado shake

By Hemsley + Hemsley

Summer fruit smoothie

By Mary Berry

Breakfast smoothie

By Merrilees Parker

Mango smoothie

By Allegra McEvedy


Eye-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

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