Bananas are not just bananas.
Learn all about one of the few different varieties of bananas that you can find in many grocery stores in the United States - the Manzano or the Apple Banana.
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Too often in this country, a banana is just a banana.
We miss out on the wonderful diverse world that truly is the banana.
We have mainly regulated the banana to a single variety. The Cavendish is the type of banana that you find in every store.
Lots of stores also will carry red bananas or baby bananas. Most people probably have only eaten the Cavendish, which most people just refer to as a banana.
Take a quick search around the world wide web for bananas and you will see we are missing out on a ton. There are more than a thousand varieties in existence! Unless you travel outside this country or maybe to southern Florida or Hawaii, you'll never experience the full gamet.
Lucky for me I have gotten a hold of a banana that is different than the Cavendish. This smaller banana is called the Manzano. And if you find the right store in your area you can try it too.
? What Does It Taste Like?
You might be wondering, especially if you have never had anything but a Cavendish, what the Manzano tastes like.
Yes, Manzano bananas have a very distinctive apple-like flavor. I love them. Especially because it's a flavor that is significantly different that what I am use to.
Manzanos are also not as sweet as Cavendish. There is a little more of a tart flavor. Not too much, but different. Overall I would still classify it as a sweet fruit.
I do have to say that I have read that some people have eaten the Manzano and thought they were sweeter. One writer who had them in Hawaii felt that the Manzano were sweeter. I have only had them from South American countries so maybe there is a difference. I would love to find out.
My experience Manzano are less sweet than Cavendish. I would love to hear what you think at the end of this post in the comments section.
? How to Tell When Ripe?
Green or no green? Spots or no spots?
What kind of banana eater are you?
I can never eat a banana that has any green on it. Never. I am spots guy!
My wife likes a little green still on her bananas. With Manzano you really don't want that. When any green still appears that banana tends to be still tough in the center, almost crunchy. I want them to taste like apples, not have the crunch of an apple.
The flavor is best when the bananas are completely green free and are turning brown with spots. They don't to be black to enjoy. Even when spots are just forming, the center still be me more firm then you are use to.
? What is the Difference - Manzano & Apple Bananas?
Manzano bananas are sometimes labeled as Apple Bananas. You see that flavor is so distinctive that for marketing purposes they are called Apple Bananas.
Most of the Manzano bananas I have had are either Del Monte or Turbana. Del Monte likes to use the words Apple Banana while Turbana uses the Manzano name.
All you really need to know is that you are getting the same bananas whether it's labeled Manzano or Apple.
? What is the Difference - Baby & Manzano Bananas?
Although both baby bananas and Manzano bananas look very similar they do not taste the same. Baby bananas that you find in American grocery stores are very similar in taste to the common Cavendish, sometimes sweeter even.
If you are looking for a smaller bananas with a more unique taste, look for Manzano or apple bananas on the sticker!
If are interested in learning more about the world of bananas I highly recommend the book "Banana - Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World". It's a great read about how we got to our current banana situation and why that could lead to disaster.
? More Fruit to Try
Here are some more fun varieties of fruit to try.