There are four varieties of bananas: Cavendish, the most popular variety; Lady Fingers, which are shorter, plumper and sweeter than the Cavendishes; Gold Fingers, a new variety with a tangy taste; and Plantains, which have a green skin and a starchy taste.
Select bananas at varying stages of ripeness (from light green to dark yellow) so you can eat them as they ripen.
Store at room temperature, between 10ºC and 25ºC, to ripen. Once ripe, they can be refrigerated. The skin may turn black, but the flesh will be unaffected for several days.
After peeling, bananas can be eaten raw or cooked; however, plantains should be cooked before eating.
4 quick ways with bananas
Fulfil your fruit requirement for the day with a banana-berry smoothie: simply blend a banana with a handful of sliced strawberries, a large dollop of low-fat vanilla yoghurt, a little skim milk and some ice. Creamy, delicious and good for you!
Whip up an easy dessert: blend one frozen banana (cut into chunks) with a cup of frozen yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon juice in a blender. Get creative by adding in other fruits – tinned peaches, mangoes or pineapple chunks all work well.
Banana berry roll-ups are an easy snack for kids to make on their own. Spread a thin layer of berry jam onto a tortilla or piece of lavash bread. Arrange thin slices of banana on top, roll up and slice diagonally for little fingers. Experiment with your favourite spreads and add other types of fruit.
Leftover ‘nanas? Don’t throw them out – peel and freeze them for later. When you have three, make deliciously moist muffins – simple mash bananas, and combine with 1 tablespoon cooking oil, 1/2 cup skim milk and 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour. Bake in a greased muffin tin for 10–15 minutes.
Did you know? Bananas are a good source of dietary fibre, a rich source of potassium and a good source of vitamins B6 and C. Consumption of bananas is also associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in women.