There are more than 500 varieties of banana plants in the world. The most common kinds are Dwarf Cavendish, Valery, and Williams Hybrid bananas. Other types of bananas include Apple and a small red banana called the Red Jamaica. A large type of banana called the plantain is hard and starchy and is mostly used as a vegetable in cooking. In Australia, Cavendish and Lady Fingers are the two most popular varieties.
The popular Cavendish variety was named after Englishman William Spencer Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire. The original Cavendish plants were brought to Mauritius from southern China in about 1826 before being taken to England where they were propagated by the good Duke’s gardener. In the 1840s, plants were taken to Samoa, Tonga and Fiji and eventually, in the 1850s, down under to Australia.
Today in Australia, bananas are grown in both tropical and subtropical regions. This ensures the industry is diverse in terms of the geographical location of banana farms, farming practices, the size and type of farms that grow bananas, the varieties of bananas grown and their flavour.
The tropical banana-growing regions of northern Queensland, mainly around Tully and Innisfail, produce more than 90% of Australia’s bananas. Other tropical production areas are in the Northern Territory and in northern Western Australia, at Kununurra. Subtropical bananas are grown from just south of Coffs Harbour in northern New South Wales and Bundaberg in southern Queensland, and in Carnarvon in Western Australia. All fresh bananas available in Australia are locally grown. There are no imports due to the threat pests and disease would pose to our local farms.
A banana should be complete yellow when ripe. A banana with a lot of brown spots tastes better than a yellow banana with a green top. Bananas are brown when overripe and green when not ripe. Put bananas in a fruit bowl in the sun to ripen quickly.
Australian Bananas aren’t just delicious, they’re also extremely nutritious. In fact, if you sat down to design the perfect long-lasting energy snack, you’d be hard pressed to beat a banana. Because, unlike their super-processed, super-sugary competitors, bananas are bursting with goodness and nutrition to keep you full of energy all day long.
Bananas are packed with natural carbohydrates, vitamin B6 and potassium – a balanced blend of goodness that makes them ideal for restoring tired muscles and boosting bored brains. They’re also great for tuning up your nervous system by providing 15% of your daily B6 needs for nerve function. They, quite literally, make your body sing. It’s why you’ll often find elite athletes munching on a banana before, during, and after exercise.
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