The humble banana is not a fruit but a berry! Furthermore, it is not a tree but a herb!
Yes, a banana plant is technically a large herb, distantly related to ginger. It is considered a herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem the way a tree does. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk (or pseudo-stem).
The picture above is a giant cooking banana next to a normal eating one!
We have discovered a couple of interesting points about bananas:
1. There are many varieties and uses – including loads of medicinal uses of the banana plant, stem, fruit & flowers
2.We are making a nice banana wine (as it is technically a berry).
3. There is a thing known as a banana circle that makes good compost. These are semi-naturally formed. We discovered a few at the farm that had basically grown by themselves. Here is more info on banana circles…
The banana types we are growing at 5EyesFarm include:
(*Pisang = banana/plantain)
Banana Varieties (by thespruceeats.com)
There are hundreds of banana varieties, but only a select few are available at your local grocery store. Bananas are a great source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. You are probably most familiar with the Cavendish. Here is a quick breakdown of the most available commercial varieties:
This is the most common banana available and the one with which you’re most familiar. The wide availability of this banana variety is due to its long shelf life and resistance to disease. You can do just about anything with this banana: eat it raw, sauté it, bake it, blend it, etc.
These bananas are smaller and sweeter than Cavendish. It’s sometimes called a dessert banana and is known as the apple banana. It has a banana flavour with a hint of apple or strawberry in the background. The trick is to wait until the skin starts to show black spots before eating. Manzanas are delicious eaten raw but can be sautéed or baked into desserts as well.
These look like smaller versions of Cavendish. They are sweet and can be prepared the same way as Cavendish. The smaller size makes them ideal for a flambé dish.
This is an interesting banana indeed. The red outer skin is eye-catching, and the inner flesh is creamy and sweet with a hint of apple. The banana goes by many names such as Jamaican Red, Cuban Red, or Indio. It’s delicious eaten raw or blended into smoothies.
These bananas have a unique blocky shape. Sometimes they are called chunky bananas. They are a bit shorter and bigger around than Cavendish. Let them ripen a bit for a sweeter flavour if eating them raw or cook them.
Plantains are related to bananas but eaten in a different way. They have high starch content and are cooked before eating them, even in the ripe stage. (see thespruceeats.com)
Plantains are slated to become the new eating banana as they increase in sweetness and decrease in hardness.