Bananas, a tropical fruit full of surprises! What should you know about them?

Bananas are the second most sold fruit in the world.

Why are they so popular?

In what recipes do you use them?

You will learn everything in the following article!

Bananas, what exactly are they?

Bananas are the edible fruits of plants in the genus Musa , of which there are more than 100 different species. Although they appear to be trees – their “trunks” are not woody. These are only clusters of stems, banana trees are not trees but gigantic herbs.

It also belongs to the very first plants that were domesticated and purposefully grown by humans for food around 10,000 BC in the jungles of Malaysia. Bananas were probably cultivated much earlier than, for example, rice.

Currently, the largest producer of bananas is India, which accounts for more than 26% of global production, while it hardly exports its production and bananas are intended for domestic consumption.

Although the banana plant is a perennial plant that can produce fruit for several decades, bananas are fruits. They can be mistaken for herbs, but they have seeds and are therefore botanically classified as berries.

Bananas do contain seeds, and not really small ones. However, commercially grown varieties are genetically modified to be seedless.

Types of bananas

There are over 1,000 known subspecies, cultivars, and varieties of bananas worldwide, about half of which are not edible. For better orientation between them, bananas began to be divided into two main groups: dessert bananas and cooking bananas.

Dessert or fruit bananas: yellow and red

Dessert bananas grow on plants of the species Musa acuminata and are cultivated in more than 140 countries. They are soft, sweet and mainly used for raw consumption. Therefore, they are also commonly available in supermarkets around the world.

Cavendish is the most produced variety of yellow fruit banana worldwide. Underripe bananas taste like lemon custard, while overripe ones taste like caramel crème brulee. They are often combined with pineapple, lemon, mango, papaya, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate and caramel.

Yellow Cavendish bananas

Red bananas were created through natural cultivation and biological selection. They are generally smaller than the yellow Cavendisch , and also “chubbier”. The peel of these bananas can be orange, red or even chestnut in color. The flesh is usually pinkish and very soft. The taste of red fruit varieties is extremely sweet and resembles raspberries or mangoes. Goes well with ginger, curry, cardamom, strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, nuts and shrimp.

Red fruit bananas

Cooking bananas aka plantains

Vegetable bananas (so-called plantains) are the fruits of hybrids of M. acuminata and M. balbisiana plants. Compared to dessert bananas, they are more starchy and taste neutral, i.e. much less sweet.

In general, they are mostly suitable for cooking and baking, they are less often eaten raw. Plantains are grown throughout Asia, where there are dozens of varieties. These bananas are also referred to as “true bananas”. They are more similar to the original ancient varieties, are not modified and contain different sized seeds.

They are among the basic and indispensable foods of tropical regions, they are treated similarly to potatoes. It is commonly cooked in combination with curry, fish, coconut milk, poultry, soy and spinach.

Bananas plantains

What vitamins do they contain?

Bananas are an excellent source of dietary antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, including potassium and vitamins C and B6. Compared to other fruits, they also provide a significant amount of malic acid, which helps reduce fatigue and accelerates metabolism.

Bananas, medium ripe
100 g
Malic acid 369 mg
Calcium 5 mg
Magnesium 28 mg
Potassium 326 mg
Manganese 0.258 mg
Vitamin C 12.3 mg
Niacin 0.662 mg
Vitamin B6 0.209 mg

Why eat bananas?

The perfect food for athletes – it’s bananas! They support regeneration during and after exercise. They contain not only easily digestible carbohydrates, but also magnesium and potassium – so-called electrolytes that are lost from the body through sweat. Eating a banana can reduce muscle cramps and soreness that come after exercise

Recent studies have also confirmed the effects of bananas on asthma in pediatric patients. Banana juice reduces the intensity of wheezing and shortness of breath, especially after strenuous exercise.

One medium-sized banana (115 g) provides up to 100% of the recommended daily allowance of potassium. Regular intake of potassium in the diet reduces the risk of heart disease by as much as 27%.

The resistant starch contained in bananas has a very positive effect on the intestinal microflora. It acts as a prebiotic, i.e. it nourishes the beneficial bacteria of the intestines. Eating bananas greatly relieves the unpleasant symptoms associated with bloating in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Bananas also contain soluble fiber – pectin. Some studies suggest that it acts as a preventative against colon cancer. Banana proteins (lectins) have antioxidant effects and prevent the growth of leukemia cells. This effect has been proven especially in children, in whom the consumption of bananas reduces the further development of leukemia.

When not to eat bananas?

Since bananas contain a large amount of potassium, they can be harmful for people who are being treated with kidney problems. Diseased kidneys cannot filter the excessive potassium content and release it into the blood. An increased level of potassium in the blood can damage the heart and cause not only arrhythmia but also cardiac arrest.

Bananas – calories and nutritional values:

One banana contains around 110 calories, while it is made up mainly of water, carbohydrates and fiber. It is low-fat, contains no fat.

Bananas, unripe
100 g
Bananas, overripe
100 g
Water 75.3 g 78.3 g
Energy value 98 calories 85 calories
Proteins 0.74 g 0.73 g
Fats 0.29 g 0.22 g
Carbohydrates 23 g 20 g
Fiber 4.62 g 2.02 g
Sugars 15.8 g 15.8 g
Sucrose 4.18 g 2.1 g
Glucose 5.55 g 7 g
Fructose 6.09 g 6.7 g
Starch 3.66 g 0.41 g

The carbohydrates contained in unripe bananas are mainly composed of resistant starch (indigestible fiber). This, in combination with soluble fiber, regulates the appetite and slows down the digestion of food in the stomach. Bananas (especially the less ripe ones) thus help to lose weight, because they fill you up and reduce the feeling of hunger in the long term.

Banana recipes

  • In recent years, the popularity of healthy breakfasts has grown considerably. Of course, variations of traditional breakfast dishes are also related to this. The all-time favorite is the flourless banana pancake recipe , which is popular across society, from fitness trainers to health-conscious parents and their kids.

  • Another very interesting dish is banana bread . This is a sweet version of regular pastry and has no competition! Not only is it simple to prepare, but it is also incredibly delicious, as the bananas in it caramelize during baking.

  • Do you have a lot of overripe bananas at home and don’t know what to do with them? Try the American Banana Muffins recipe . A tasty and at the same time healthy dessert that “enjoys” even children!

  • If you don’t have a muffin tin, don’t worry. Get inspired by recipes for banana buns and try, for example, a banana cake, or even a cake – for example, a vegan banana!

  • Due to the health effects of banana juice described above, definitely do not forget to try a banana smoothie . It is especially excellent as a breakfast, because thanks to its properties, it fills you up for the whole morning.

Banana Peel Bacon Recipe

Banana peels are commonly used (both raw and cooked) in many recipes and dishes. Especially in Asian countries, they are the basic raw material for the preparation of curry rolls, but also for the production of vinegar or tea.

Using banana peels is a great way to not waste food and operate as waste-free as possible. While the recipes for pulled meat from banana skins (for tortillas, for example) are not very tasty, banana bacon is really amazing! It is mildly spicy, crispy and at the same time mildly chewy – just the same as classic bacon.

The most important raw material is of course banana peels. How to make really tasty banana bacon? The basic and most important rule is to use really ripe, preferably overripe bananas (the more brown, the better). Bacon from green skins is not edible.

Raw materials:

  • peels from 3 ripe bananas
  • 50 ml of soy sauce
  • 15 ml of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 20 ml of olive or sesame oil


  1. Divide the individual peels into 3-4 strips and scrape out the inner, white part. So that only the skin remains.
  2. In a suitable (rather longer) bowl, mix the marinade – soy sauce, maple syrup, smoked paprika, oil and pressed garlic).
  3. Put the banana peels in the marinade, leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but preferably for several hours (overnight).
  4. Heat a pan with olive oil.
  5. Add the marinated skins and fry on medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. The skins are ready when they turn golden and start to form “bubbles” like classic bacon.
  6. Remove from pan and let cool and drain on a paper towel. Cooled skins are crispier, thus tastier.
Banana bacon from banana peels

When frying, sugars burn, banana peels can smoke a lot in a hot pan.

Growing bananas

Banana plants need a lot of water to grow, so commercial growers have to water them at least three times a day. Although they can withstand extremely high temperatures, but not for a long time. The ideal temperature for growing bananas is between
26-30°C. For example, if it drops below 14°C, bananas simply stop growing and usually don’t “recover”.

A banana tree usually grows for 6 months before it produces a bunch of bananas. Bananas will ripen for the next 2 months.

When and how do bananas ripen?

For local consumption, bananas are harvested only when they are ripe (yellow).

Bananas intended for export abroad are harvested while still green. That is, immature to withstand transport. Once the bananas reach their destination, they are treated with ethylene gas.

What is ethylene gas?
It is a colorless gas that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. It acts as a growth regulator, i.e. it initiates the ripening process. At home, for example, you can put a ripe pear in a bag with an unripe banana. It will release its ethylene gas and the banana will ripen thanks to it.

Bananas are tropical fruits, so they don’t like the cold. They are not stored in the refrigerator, but at room temperature, when they ripen at the same time.

Bananas – interesting facts and other uses

Banana peel reduces swelling, it is suitable as a quick aid after an insect bite (similar to, for example, onions).

Banana peels can clean water contaminated with heavy metals, for example from the nuclear industry. They are successful in up to 70%.

Thanks to banana enzymes, even a splinter that is embedded deep in the skin rises to the surface. It is enough to rub the incriminated spot with the pulp or peel of a banana.

Even non-washable ink can be removed using a banana peel.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)