Banana

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Photo attribution: 

Flickr: oatsy40

Foods Included

Cavendish (most common), Baby banana, Red banana, Manzanos (apple banana)

Description

Bananas can vary in size and color, but are usually long with a curved shape. When ripe, they have a soft flesh covered by a yellow outer peel. Bananas usually taste sweet and are tender, making it easy to eat. When bananas are unripe, they are usually hard with a bitter flavor.

Buy It

  • Choose yellow bananas if you want to eat them right away.
  • Choose slightly green (under ripe) bananas for longer shelf life. They will gradually ripen on your counter over the next couple of days.

Store It

  • Store unripe bananas at room temperature for 2-7 days.
  • Store ripe bananas in refrigerator for up to two weeks; skin may turn black.
  • Bananas may also be peeled, wrapped in wax paper, and frozen for use in smoothies or muffins.

Cook It

  • Eat bananas out of your hand, cut in slices, or mash them.
  • If you're not going to use the banana right away, dip the peeled fruit in lemon juice to keep it from turning brown.
  • Cook bananas by baking, sautéing, or grilling. For most cooked recipes, use a firm, ripe banana.
  • Mashed bananas are great in cakes or muffins. If a recipe calls for mashing a banana, use bananas that are soft and have brown spots on the skin.
  • Blend frozen bananas with a little vanilla extract, milk, and cinnamon for a healthy "ice cream".

Why It's Great

  • Vitamin C keeps our immune system strong and helps our bodies heal quickly.
  • Fiber helps with healthy digestion and keeps us feeling full.  Eating enough fiber has been shown to keep our hearts healthy too.
  • Potassium, a type of electrolyte, helps build muscle and keeps your heart healthy.

Photo credits (clockwise from left)

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