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Food School: red bananas

By: Reading Time: 2 Minutes
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The popular tropical fruit decked out in an extraordinary garment: red bananas. braised, roasted or baked, the red banana enriches many dishes thanks to its wonderful flavor. This fruit tastes really great combined with oranges, kiwis, pineapples, mangos and peaches.

Paired with ginger and chilli, it brings an exotic punch to the plate. Essentially, this tropical fruit can be used like its yellow counterpart; in the countries where it is grown, it is often eaten warm. Tip: It also tastes great in soups or spicy cakes!

Food School: cutting banana leaves

Image: Falkenstein

Unripe fruit doesn’t taste good

For this reason, tricks for quickly ripening fruit abound. For example, you can heat it in the microwave (pierce the peel beforehand with a fork) or store it in a closed paper bag – these are two tips among many. This works because it creates a process that breaks down chlorophyll and converts starch into sugar.

Overripe or even inedible?

Although the color of the peel may lead us to assume that this is the case, this does not necessarily apply to red or Jamaican bananas. This is because under the angular, somewhat thicker skin, the fruit is still creamy, aromatic and sweet. The reddish-brown coloration is simply a result of a high level of beta-carotene. In terms of taste, “the red” – as the tropical fruit is called in Singhalese – is in no way inferior to the yellow, commercially available Cavendish banana. However, there is a difference when it comes to size. Measuring six inches, it is slightly smaller than its closely related bestseller in the fruit department. Speaking of sales, red bananas are only grown for commercial purposes. Although they originally came from India, plantations are now also found in Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines. The fruit is available year-round, but at a price: costing a little under six euros a pound (11 euros per kilo), red bananas are five times more expensive than their yellow cousins.

How to cook with tropical fruits like red bananas?

Image: nataliazakharova –

Recognizing the degree of ripeness

Red bananas are shipped unripe from their countries of origin to minimize damage or bruising during transport. Initially reddish-brown-greenish in color, the fruit either ripens during their travels or in this country. If the peel is pink to red and has faint spots, the fruit can be eaten. If you want to make extra sure, give the peel a slight squeeze. If it’s ripe, the peel will give some resistance, but not be too hard.

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