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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 10-10-2012, 01:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Developing a banana taste description guide

If you've ever seen those wine wheels that describe all the various wine smells and tastes, I wish there was some sort of taste description guide for bananas. Now it wouldn't need to be something as ridiculous as some of the wine ones, with descriptions like "roasted chestnuts on fresh asphalt with a hint of asparagus" and such.

I would love to have some standard taste description guide, maybe put in the Wiki that could help any of us give taste reports. Taste reports are one of the most interesting things to me on this site. But maybe just a list of major parameters and words to describe them that would make it easier for any of us to give a good description.

I'd love suggestions and input here on how to develop such a guide. I guess the parameters would be as follows, and it would be nice to develop descriptive words with a scale, such as very sweet to very sour, or use 1-10 for sweetness and tartness:

TEXTURE-(this would differ from how hard or soft it feels, for example, sucrier can feel firm when you bite into them, but then kind of mushy textured once you chew it, and something like Ice Cream can also be firm, but have a fluffy texture when chewed). Not sure how the scale would be here, but maybe include FLUFFY, STARCHY, MEALY, MUSHY, CREAMY, VELVETY, SPONGY, RUBBERY, any others?

FIRMNESS-(Not sure if firmness is the best word here, but some bananas seem very firm even when more ripe, such as plantains, while a typical cavendish feels somewhat soft when first biting into it even when somewhat green. Should MUSHY go under firmness?). Range from VERY FIRM to VERY SOFT. Maybe this parameter would be more important in describing the stage of ripeness when tasted.

SWEETNESS-(Breaking up sweetness and tartness here, because some seem to have both, such as a Dwarf Brazilian, while others kind of have neither, like a plantain that is only slightly ripe) Range NONE to VERY SWEET. (I'd put a ripe Sucrier at the VERY SWEET end of the scale, and DB in the middle).

TARTNESS-maybe NONE to SOUR or VERY TART. (Maybe use sub-acid, etc, but I still kind of find those terms confusing, and it is more so for newbies. I'd put Mysore at the VERY TART end of the scale and a cavendish or plantain at NONE).

RIPENESS-simply describe the skin when tasted, from totally green to totally black.

FLAVOR-This is where it gets difficult and there isn't really a scale to use, but maybe some standard words would help, along with whatever the user wants to add. I think we all know what a store cavendish tastes like, and I'm not sure how you can explain that exactly, so maybe use CAVENDISH as a term, along with others like VEGETAL, APPLE, PEACH, CANTALOUPE, and whatever other food flavors will work.

OTHER: Sort of free form description. Maybe OTHER could include things like smell, size, fruit flesh color, and opinions such as whether you liked it or not. Could also include source of the fruit.

All of these would of course vary to some degree even on the same bunch depending on ripeness.

So I've got two types of nanners from my yard in front of me so here goes my attempt to use the above for a taste report.

Ice Cream: RIPENESS: Tasted yellow with some black spots.
FIRMNESS: medium soft.
TEXTURE: fluffy on first bite, becoming somewhat mushy and mealy as chewed.
SWEETNESS: Medium sweetness
TARTNESS: slightly tangy
FLAVOR: slight apple taste
OTHER: When ripe many of the strands from the peel stick to the fruit, making it somewhat stringy and unpleasant unless they are removed first. Not among my favorites. I prefer letting them get very ripe, freezing them, then blending with a little soy or coconut milk to make a soft-serve type dessert without needing to add sugar. Home grown.

Dwarf Brazilian: RIPENESS: Fully yellow with few brown specks.
FIRMNESS:firm
TEXTURE: slightly rubbery, becoming very creamy and velvety as chewed
SWEETNESS: Medium sweetness
TARTNESS: somewhat tangy (this particular one is less tangy than normal, I'd usually describe them as just tangy)
FLAVOR: slight apple and pineapple taste
OTHER: Overall a good balance of pleasing texture, firmness, flavor, sweetness, and enough tartness to make it interesting and easy to eat more. My favorite banana. Home grown.

and since I previously gave a taste report on Sucrier, here is how I would adapt it to this standard.

Sucrier: RIPENESS: Fully yellow with few brown specks.
FIRMNESS:firm
TEXTURE: firm on the first bite, quickly becoming mushy as chewed. The center of the fruit feels harder than you'd expect. Mushy in a different (more pleasant) way than a cavendish
SWEETNESS: Very sweet
TARTNESS: None
FLAVOR: brown sugar, slightly vegetal, like a hint of green pepper, especially the less ripe it is.
OTHER: Tasty and small with very thin skin. About as sweet as a banana gets, almost too sweet. Enjoyable but 1-2 at a time is plenty. I've read that they should be eaten very ripe with almost black skin. I'd disagree with that-too sweet but firmness held up well on one with only some black. Yellow with slight green at the tips was ok, a little vegetal, and it seemed best with no sign of green or black on the peel. Would work well sliced on cereal, in a fruit salad where it isn't so dominant, or in desserts. Home grown.

I welcome suggestions on how we can come up with some standards to give some uniformity to taste reports and make descriptions more clear and understandable. Of course anybody could just use this if they want to, and can throw in whatever else they want to say under OTHER in each review.

Thoughts?

Last edited by robguz24 : 10-10-2012 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

It's hard to find, but there's been some preliminary work in this regard located here: Info:Flavors Of Bananas - Bananas Wiki (to get there manually, click on wiki button on top of screen to get to the 'All articles' section of the wiki, and look for an article entitled "Info:Flavors Of Bananas")

I really like your additional suggestions and would love to see a much improved 'banana flavors' section.

(btw, thanks to whomever contributed to the current wiki section on flavors)
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

I like it a lot. Just remember though that taste is often subjective though.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

Taste good,pretty good and not so good
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

Thanks - good shot at tricky problem. (I am doing the same thing trying to judge about 30 varieties of pawpaws.) I would add a number rating, sort of overall how did you like it. And could add for what purpose like you were getting into cereal, etc. I like Brazilian for most things far better than Cavendish, but in a daiquiri an overripe Cavendish is cheap and good. Some varieties of bananas are good just for the experience of something different.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

You basically have 2 tastes(Sweet and Sour), several textures, and olfactory qualities. A lot of what we consider flavor is actually smell. Your tongue can only taste bitter, sweet, sour, and salty.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

I love this suggestion.
but, my thought about this is the only bananas I ever get to taste are from the grocery store and then any bananas that are any different than the same one that is always there is, i could never know what kind it is, since they are never labeled correctly so, I buy a red banana and love the cinnamon taste, how could I be helpful? I guess by being sure to add how sure I am not only of the flavor but of the type as in store bought or grown etc.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

The idea of having such is great, hope the wiki will accommodate something more informative. :^)
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

This is a job for the Supertaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and we probably have some members that fall into that group.
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

Good suggestions. My reason for doing it is that sometimes, especially after the banana festival recently. I get to taste several kinds new to me, but I don't bother giving a taste report because it seems like I don't know where to start. I'm thinking if there is just a list to pick from to make descriptions easy I'd be more likely to give reports. I love reading other reports, especially those of types I have growing but haven't tasted yet.
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by robguz24 View Post
Good suggestions. My reason for doing it is that sometimes, especially after the banana festival recently. I get to taste several kinds new to me, but I don't bother giving a taste report because it seems like I don't know where to start. I'm thinking if there is just a list to pick from to make descriptions easy I'd be more likely to give reports. I love reading other reports, especially those of types I have growing but haven't tasted yet.
I think its a great Idea to share the knowledge. I think the only other place the wiki is really lacking other than pertinent info on the types is that there shoud be a Flower to fruit havest by type guide. This might help people understand they will never get the banana's to havest for some types that take longer than 3 months in various area's. This would leave it open to having a non-typical flower to harvest times since ventura, he has non-typical flower to harvest times. :^)
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

No way to do flower to harvest time. Way to many variables.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

Having done a number of informal taste tests among our nursery customers, this is a difficult project. People taste things differently, and sometimes do not taste at all. As an example Misi Luki has a nice apple-cider tone to it, but about 25% of the people that taste it do not get that flavor at all. Some still like it, and some prefer a different variety, but 1 in 4 just get a whole different taste sensation from it. For some people it is about acid-sweet balance and flavor is a secondary item. If it doesn't have some acid sparkle, it doesn't work for them, regardless of how rich the flavor might be.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

I'm guess I shouldn't have stated it as a guide for what certain fruit are supposed to taste like, but rather guideliness to review a given fruit. And what I meant by putting it in the Wiki is just putting the list of parameters and words to describe them, not the actual fruit taste descriptions.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

Yo Rob: You're Hired, please advise when done so I can buy one! :-) I would love as a newbie to see this work done, but realize it would be a very time consuming. Also like to see a A-Z book on everything about bananas, so I could become more educated on this subject.

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Old 10-14-2012, 07:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

Yo Rob: You're Hired, please advise when done so I can buy one! :-) I would love as a newbie to see this work done, but realize it would be a very time consuming. Also like to see a A-Z book on everything about bananas, so I could become more educated on this subject.

Lead on, Tom
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:40 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

I think it can be done and would be a worthy endeavor.
Even if you consider that some people taste the same taste different than others.
It would be best to start with a good sample of at least somewhat knowledgeable tasters opinions to make a starting point or generalization list of tastes per type and that can then be enhanced by more future input as new tasters opinions are formed and then applying their tastes in comparison.
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

5 Banana Varieties - Saveur.com
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Old 08-06-2015, 12:15 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Developing a banana taste description guide

BUMP!
I thought this was
worth resurrecting.
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