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Old 05-23-2017, 03:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

It took 10 long months from the day the first flower opened until the day we had our first taste of American Goldfinger (FHIA-1) and it was worth the wait! The plants were grown outdoors in Northern California, and this first bunch flowered July 17, 2016 and was harvested May 18, 2017. This was what the bunch looked like when harvested:


Notice some fingers are completely yellow:


Here's a nice hand a few days after harvesting. Notice there's still some green on the "stems": at this stage, the bananas aren't very sweet but they aren't super astringent like Manzano:


When you start seeing brown spots and the color of the peel becomes darker yellow, that's when you want to eat them. This is still a day or two away from the peak, but you can see some spots forming:


Great snack sized fruit, but that's very environmental. I've heard these can get as big as a regular cavendish when grown in the tropics:


Unfortunately, I didn't photograph the outside of the banana at its peak, but here's what it looks like when opened up, it was a bit of a surprise (and quite pretty!):


and sliced in half:


Before being exposed to the cold, wet winter: the plants are just absolutely beautiful and create a tropical feel to the garden:



Here's what the plants looked like after taking a rough, cold winter. Despite all the leaves that were burned, the flavor wasn't affected negatively:





TASTE REPORT
TEXTURE- creamy (multiple people came to this conclusion) and my co-worker says dense, but I personally think it's slightly less dense than a cavendish, but not by much. Very delightful and enjoyable.

FIRMNESS – A little more firm than a grocery store Cavendish at peak maturity.

SWEETNESS- Sweeter than a cavendish at peak maturity.

TARTNESS- A little tart when there is some green at the tip, but then becomes milder after becoming fully yellow (this was copied and pasted from Servatusprime's report and it is spot on!)

RIPENESS- 1-3 days after the finger has turned yellow (depends on the environment they're ripening under) seems to be when you get peak ripeness. Texture, sugar content, and background subacid flavor is at its perfect balance. Should be a few brown spots on the peel. Slightly bruised fruit seem to ripen quicker. I suspect ripening them "on the vine" will give you better, more complex flavors compared to harvesting them green, but on the other hand, you get a lot of bananas all ripe near the same time.

PEEL: very easy to peel, but quite thin. The brown lines on the inside of the peel are quite attractive and different looking! There are brownish "strings" that attach to the "meat," but it's not noticable when being eaten (they're very soft and not fibrous whatsoever). The "neck" or "stem" of the finger is very fragile/thin and seems to get damaged easily/crack open when the bananas turn yellow. You can't break off a finger from the hand at this point without cracking open the banana.

FLAVOR- as mentioned above, peak flavor is at about 1-3 days after the finger has turned solid yellow. You should see a few dark spots on it, and it should be slightly darker yellow. At this stage, it's sweeter than a cavendish, and has a wonderful, tangy background flavor. I can see how some can describe that aspect as being "berry-like." To me, these bananas are slightly less filling than a cavendish, and you can eat a whole lot of them, but my perspective might be skewed since the fingers were small. It has an absolutely wonderful floral aftertaste according to my wife, who is very picky about fruit and is raving about this variety. I suspect environment plays a huge role on flavor: harvesting at the right time, watering only when it's warm, using lots of organic fertilizers really brings out the flavor. I could see this variety grown in poor soil with synthetic fertilizers having less depth of flavor, much like some commercially produced cavendish bananas.

RATING (out of 10): 9/10 Outside of the amazing flavor, this factors in productivity of the plant in marginal conditions and cold tolerance of the fruit. The bunch withstood several days of frost without any issues, but it has to bloom at the right time when grown in marginal climates (ie. I lost several bunches that bloomed in November and December, but everything that bloomed during the summer survived the cold). If you time the flowering right and get them to bloom in April, I suspect these can be finished in about 6 months here in Northern California, provided normal weather. Only downside is how fragile the peels are once these bananas are fully ripe (refer to the "Peel" description above). Others might balk at the fact that this banana doesn't have its peak flavor right when it turns yellow, but hey, avocados are loved by perhaps billions of people, and similarly, they're only great at a precise stage of ripeness which takes some experience to figure out....

For people in cold climates, I recommend the "6 cane per Mat" approach: you'll end up with smaller bunches, but this increases the chance that you'll have a few bunches that bloom at the right time of year to reach maturity.

Opinion on Commercial Production:
Others report this banana isn't popular among the general public and is therefore not commercially produced, but after tasting how much better these are compared to anything I've ever bought at the store, I don't think that's the real reason. When you eat this banana before peak maturity, it doesn't taste all that great, but when eaten at the right stage, the difference in flavor is night versus day.

In addition, it appears this probably wouldn't be good for large scale commercial production because of how fragile the peel is and how hard it would be to ship. However, for the hobby grower, niche market, or even local farmer's market, this is an excellent variety and highly recommended. It's the most productive variety I have so far, with 7 bunches total produced in less than a year! Granted, they didn't all make it, but you get the point: the plant wants to fruit unlike many other varieties that just sulk in my mediocre climate for bananas. It is absolutely staying in the garden for as long as I have a garden!

Last edited by meizzwang : 05-23-2017 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 05-23-2017, 04:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Great write up.
I also have one growing here in Nor Cal. Can't wait!
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Old 05-24-2017, 01:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Congratulations and thanks for your report! I don't recall your original source of these so I'm wondering if they were sourced from Agristarts (either directly or through a local nursery). If so, I have this "Goldfinger" too, though it's not been as hearty or tasty as other "Goldfingers" I have, none of which are the real thing.
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Old 05-24-2017, 04:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

I have tried a lot of varities and these are my absolute favorite! I could eat them daily. Excellent banana. I hear the SH3640 has a very similar taste also. Thanks for the Excellent report! Your making me want some Bad! My largest fingers was maybe an inch or more longer but looks exactly the same. You have seen my pics!

Excellent variety I would recommend to anyone. I am growing it beside the USDA Tars goldfinger and this version is a way faster grower vs the real one so far.

Congrats man!
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by meizzwang
It took 10 long months from the day the first flower opened until the day we had our first taste of American Goldfinger (FHIA-1) and it was worth the wait! The plants were grown outdoors in Northern California, and this first bunch flowered July 17, 2016 and was harvested May 18, 2017. ...
Thanks from the report ... great looking bunch and banana.

I have a FHIA-1 Goldfinger growing. Apparently you kept the bunch on the plant through the winter with just a plastic bag over the bunch. What was the minimum temperature for this past winter? Did you do anything else to keep the bunch from freezing?
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Old 05-24-2017, 01:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Thanks everyone!


Quote:
Originally Posted by robguz24 View Post
Congratulations and thanks for your report! I don't recall your original source of these so I'm wondering if they were sourced from Agristarts (either directly or through a local nursery). If so, I have this "Goldfinger" too, though it's not been as hearty or tasty as other "Goldfingers" I have, none of which are the real thing.
Hey Rob, thank you! My best guess is this is from Agristarts originally. I purchased this plant as "rajapuri" from a local farmer's market in 2014, it was a hardened off tissue culture start. This was the only time in my life that I've ever seen TC bananas for sale at a farmer's market here in Northern Cali, and I've been here my whole life. Does your agristarts goldfinger taste anything like the description above?



Edwmax: minimum temperature was 30F last winter, and we had a couple of days of light frost. To my surprise, weeks after the frost events, very few leaves had any signs of damage. However, after months of heavy, cold rain and night temps in the high 30's and mid 40's (zero frost), I think the culmination of stressful, cold nights as well as pounding, cold rain is what caused the leaves to get burned.

As far as protecting the bananas, I used slightly opaque greenhouse plastic to cover the bunches. This is fine in cold northern California, but only if the high temps stay below 75F. A single day in the 80's can cause the fingers to get sunburn due to the greenhouse effect(learned this the hard way). Next time, I'll take the plastic covers off the bunches once we get night temps above the low 40's.

Honestly, I don't think the greenhouse plastic did much more than protect the fingers from physical damage from the harsh rain and occasional hail. I also covered bunches that flowered in December, but all of the fingers rotted off presumably from the cold. There's only so much you can do to protect young, "asparagus-like" fingers from prolong cold temps, but when the fingers have a thicker peel and are mostly developed, they can tolerate slightly below freezing for short periods of time.
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Old 05-25-2017, 11:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

quick update: I let one of the american goldfinger bananas get very ripe to see how it would taste. Texture-wise, it gets mushy like a cavendish when the skin on the outside turns mostly brown. In contrast, pisang mas from the grocery store (aka lady finger) tastes best to me when the whole peel is completely brown.
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

The taste sounds similar to my Agristarts ones, though I don't think of them ever as sweeter than cavendish. That could just be my interpretation due to some of the tanginess.
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by meizzwang View Post
quick update: I let one of the american goldfinger bananas get very ripe to see how it would taste. Texture-wise, it gets mushy like a cavendish when the skin on the outside turns mostly brown. In contrast, pisang mas from the grocery store (aka lady finger) tastes best to me when the whole peel is completely brown.

meizzwang,


Congrats for The FHIA-1 American Goldfinger bunch harvest!.....Well deserved harvest after the long period of waiting time!.....10 months!.....WOW!....Awesome job on the taste report!.....
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Quote:
Originally Posted by robguz24 View Post
The taste sounds similar to my Agristarts ones, though I don't think of them ever as sweeter than cavendish. That could just be my interpretation due to some of the tanginess.
I actually personally agree with you on them not being sweeter than cavendish, but I placed that comment in the report because multiple different people came to that conclusion (and they weren't influenced by other people's opinions).

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Old 07-31-2017, 03:27 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Two "bottom Matts" are FHIA 1 American Goldfinger, photos taken 7/30/17. Notice there's an empty looking space in the collection: we dug out the Williams matt and replaced it with SH-3640, which is hopefully more cold tolerant. Notice how messed up all the banana plants looked in the previous post above....now you can barely tell what they went through:



I'm about to harvest another bunch of American goldfinger FHIA-1 in a day or two, several fingers have turned yellow. Will post updated pics and a report shortly.

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Old 08-01-2017, 12:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

This is the third bunch that I'm harvesting from FHIA-1 American Goldfinger, and just like the other two bunches, it took almost exactly 10 months to mature here in Northern California. Fingers, which are about the size of store bought manzano bananas, are much bigger this time since this came from the first ratoon, whereas the other two fruited from TC water sprouts. The two other bunches took almost exactly 10 months as well! I think in the tropics, this variety takes around 120 days to mature.

Photos taken 7/31/17:









All of those blemishes are from the intense, relentless cold rain and weather we had last winter:



Taste report to follow in a little bit, I'm going to let these hang for a little longer, some of the fingers near the bottom of the bunch look like they can fatten up just a little bit more. we're expected to have a heatwave for the next few days, maybe that'll help the flavor? Maybe so, maybe not.....

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Old 08-02-2017, 04:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Beautiful bunch man! For sure goldfingers! Amazing pictures!

This has be wondering if mine is a different off type they only take 3-4 months here in 8b. That's not picking early! That's turning yellow on the plant! How much potassium are you feeding after the flower pops? Very interesting! Could be that the only chance I have to fill is during summer! Timing has to be perfect for a lot of varieties here. Nothing can hang over winter!

Also when they turn yellow do they easily fall off the bunch? Mine do that bad! Harvesting that bunch in your picture would drop everything with yellow on it for me!
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Old 08-02-2017, 07:37 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

That was the comment I was about to make... 10 months!?!? I thought 6 was bad on my Brazilian... In Ty's case, it would be a long wait for a train not coming.... Good job with them, and kudos on the patience.
If those were Paggi, the yellow ones would have already fell off on their own.
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Varieties I supposedly bought: Manzano, Cavendish, Blue Java, Sweetheart, and Gros Michel.
What it seems I actually have: Brazilian, Cavendish, Namwah, Dwarf Red, Gros Michel, Pisang Ceylon, Veinte Cohol and SH 3640, and American Goldfinger. FHIA 1, Paggi and FHIA 17... Always room for one more.
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Old 08-02-2017, 01:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

After giving it some thought, the description, taste wise and the pics could also very easily be Manzano... They plump like that if allowed to ripen on the plant. My neighbor has a mat of them. I am not so sure how long they take to mature, though.
Just something to consider...
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Varieties I supposedly bought: Manzano, Cavendish, Blue Java, Sweetheart, and Gros Michel.
What it seems I actually have: Brazilian, Cavendish, Namwah, Dwarf Red, Gros Michel, Pisang Ceylon, Veinte Cohol and SH 3640, and American Goldfinger. FHIA 1, Paggi and FHIA 17... Always room for one more.
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Old 08-02-2017, 01:35 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Ty: Thanks for the warm comments my friend! I've been thinking a lot about the same thing. From my understanding, the whole USDA plant hardiness Zone designations refer to the average minimum winter temperatures, but it doesn't account for the total sum of "warm hours" (ie. hours of temperatures 70F and above). All other environmental factors being equal, I suspect time to maturity is directly proportional to the number of hours the plant is exposed to temperatures within their growing range.

In simpler terms, if you have warm days and warm nights during the grow season, even if you have colder winter lows, your bananas will develop much quicker than here. In my climate, we may have a couple of days in the 90's and above, but the nights cool down to the low 50's, so the cumulative time they are exposed to "heat hours" during our grow season is significantly lower than in Texas. It's not uncommon to have several weeks where the temperatures during our summer don't go above 74F.

While it could also be genetic, I suspect it's more environmental than anything else. My Musa Ice Cream, for example, took 2 years from planting the large sword pup to showing its first flag leaf. In the subtropics, even in zone 8, had it been cared for exactly the same, I wouldn't be surprised if it flowered in 8 months or less.

The fingers, once ripe, very much easily fall off the bunch, but they stay attached unless you handle them. The portion of the peel where the finger is attached to the "flower stem" is pretty thin and weak upon ripening.



Sputnic-thank you for the kind words! PM me if you have any paggi available, would love to purchase one, although I know it won't likely do well here. Still, you never know until you try.

I'm no ID expert, but some experts on this forum are pretty confident this is American Goldfinger. Gabe isn't caught up on the American goldfinger thing, and he couldn't ID this plant, so given this info, I'm inclined to believe it's American Goldfinger FHIA-1. Gabe can definitely ID a manzano:


I originally bought this plant as a rajpuri from a local farmer's market. You can find the whole discussion regarding ID of this plant in this thread: Does this look like rajapuri? (flower pics)

Last edited by meizzwang : 08-02-2017 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 08-02-2017, 04:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

I was going mostly on your taste info as well as the shape of the fruits and guessing.
I have 2 Goldfingers.. One from Ty and one from Nick... quite different in a few ways, but one thing that seems to belong to Goldfingers exclusively is how the cigar comes out at an odd angle. Most shoot out straight up, but not Goldfingers. I have 12 varieties and only the 2 Goldfingers seem to do this on every leaf...

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Varieties I supposedly bought: Manzano, Cavendish, Blue Java, Sweetheart, and Gros Michel.
What it seems I actually have: Brazilian, Cavendish, Namwah, Dwarf Red, Gros Michel, Pisang Ceylon, Veinte Cohol and SH 3640, and American Goldfinger. FHIA 1, Paggi and FHIA 17... Always room for one more.
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:44 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Nah the plant is as close as you can get to a goldfinger. Looks exactly like mine. Not manzano for sure. Flowers are yellow. It's a TC goldfinger. I wasn't aware it was that cool there. I bet that is what is causing the long fill time. The blue java I find is extremely cold hardy. So fingers are crossed for you that it is faster! Maybe it won't mind the night time dips.

Keep us updated. Especially on the blue java. I want to compare it to mine. Ours are exactly at the same stage! Good job! Doesn't matter where you are. Flowers are better than no flowers! Lol.
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:07 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

I sure hope neither of mine take 10 months... That would drive me nuts!
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Varieties I supposedly bought: Manzano, Cavendish, Blue Java, Sweetheart, and Gros Michel.
What it seems I actually have: Brazilian, Cavendish, Namwah, Dwarf Red, Gros Michel, Pisang Ceylon, Veinte Cohol and SH 3640, and American Goldfinger. FHIA 1, Paggi and FHIA 17... Always room for one more.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:09 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: American Goldfinger FHIA 1 taste report with pics

Same here! 10 months here and they would be composted back to dirt!
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Last edited by Tytaylor77 : 08-04-2017 at 11:14 PM.
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