Fresh Berry

The lowdown on food, drink and cooking
from Southeast Michigan

Fresh Berry
21Nov
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Mike Harris

ALL THINGS COOKING

"Hand selecting the best produce to bring back to Nino's each morning."

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Wild About Bananas

April 5, 2016
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It’s hard to hate bananas. First of all, they’re just plain good for you. Each bite of banana provides a healthy dose of vitamins like vitamin A, B-6, and C, and such minerals as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper. But even better than that is the taste. A nice, sweet banana is a lot like getting to enjoy a tasty dessert without all the guilt. While your impulse might be to reach for a candy bar, you can easily satisfy your sweet tooth with a banana instead.

Since Nino’s is a fresh fruit market, we carry fresh bananas all year long. Of course, we carry the Cavendish variety that you find at just about every grocery store; they have a somewhat mild flavor and a softer, mushier texture. Well over 90 percent of the bananas you’ll find on sale in typical United States’ grocery stores are Cavendish, but Nino’s also carries many other banana varieties, including the following:

Plantains

Plantains are in the banana family, but they’re not going to make the cut as a dessert. These bananas are low in sugar and rather starchy, so they are typically used like a potato or vegetable in a wide range of dishes, especially those of the savory variety. Plantains are longer than bananas and have a thicker skin. You’ll often find that their skin is green, but you may also find yellow or black plantains.

Red bananas

If you want a sweet, creamy banana, you’ll definitely want to go red. I promise you won’t be disappointed. When they’re ripe, their skin is usually dark magenta/maroon-colored, and they’re both shorter and chubbier than the better-known Cavendish. Don’t eat them before they’re ripe unless you just like a chalky, dry-tasting banana. I, for one, am not a fan.

Baby bananas

When fully ripened, these bananas are particularly sweet, and because they are so small, they’re often chosen as a snack for kids (big kids too). The interesting thing about these is that they’re best, and sweetest, when their skin has turned very brown and has dark streaks. If you eat them before they’ve ripened fully, you’ll cheat yourself out of their full, rich flavor.

We currently purchase about 25 to 30 cases a day here at Nino’s, so you won’t ever find us lacking when you’re in the mood for a sweet but healthy snack or trying to stock up on bananas to use in your favorite recipes. Stop in to Nino’s, and find the bananas you need.

Conditioning Process

The bananas we purchase for Nino’s go through a conditioning process at the produce terminal in Detroit. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being fully ripe, the conditioning process can ripen the banana to any stage. The bananas are placed in a vault, and the vault can have many different palettes of bananas, which are then ripened to different stages.

What does all of this mean for you (and me?). The long and short of it is that the Detroit produce terminal has state-of-the-art vaults for conditioning bananas so that you, the consumer, will always have the freshest bananas in your grocery bags.

Recipes

Tropical Pineapple with Banana and Toasted Coconut

One Loaf Banana bread with Variations

Banana Foster Sauce

Banana and Peanut Butter Crescent Roll-Ups

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