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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 04-19-2017, 07:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Full Size Fruit Plants

Hey All...

Now that my collection is bigger than I ever expected it to get... this fast anyway, I'm now wondering What varieties produce Larger or Full size fruit? I hadn't been aware of how many produced small fruit. I thought the norm was larger fruit, more like Cavendish sized.
So, Is there a list someone has compiled, that lists varieties based on Fruit size?

Also, are the smaller fruits usually sweeter types and are most "Plantain" type or cooking type bananas usually larger? For instance, I don't know of a "Dessert" type banana that is the size of a Rhino Horn... Or is there?

And I know someone is going to bring up the fact that what's a dessert banana to some is a cooking banana to others, but I'm sure you all know what I'm referring to. I'm not looking for a debate as to which is which.

Thanks
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Have:
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I think I've gone Bananas!
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Old 04-20-2017, 12:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full Size Fruit Plants

If you consider all banana varieties, there is no correlation between fruit size and use or eating quality factors. Just about every combination of size and use exists out there somewhere, and it is important to consider that there really is no real difference between cooking and dessert bananas, because all bananas start out starchy and can be cooked. When they ripen, they produce variable amounts of sugar and they lend themselves well to different uses, but at the end of the day it's all cultural preference. Even Cavendish bananas are a popular cooking banana in some places.

A given banana's use is a function of cultivar X ripeness level X recipe/cultural use preference, and if you change any one of those things the end use can change.

Is there a specific reason you are interested in having larger fruit? Bigger fruit does not inherently mean you have a larger yield, you can get just as heavy or heavier bunches which produce more but smaller fruit. Fruit size can also change dramatically with cultivation practices, so it's not just about having the right cultivar. Commercially grown Cavendish all undergo fruit pruning, up to 1/3 of the fruit of a bunch is pruned off early to increase the size of the remaining fruit, the total yield is less but it can be more profitable because the price is higher for larger fruit.

Many of the FHIA cultivars have rather large fruit, but they are not always as appreciated as traditional cultivars, because they are big doesn't mean they are better or will bring you more joy.

Indeed, commercially grown Cavendish bananas which are 7-8" and larger are more of an exception than a norm, but people tend to use it as a reference point because they are so ubiquitous. People often ask me after traveling to some tropical place "what are those little sweet bananas they had?" which describes most non-Cavendish varieties grown commercially around the world, so there is absolutely no way to answer, because it's so normal.

The 'Rhino Horn' Plantains are definitely somewhat exceptional in their potential size, but it isn't inherently related to the fact they are most often used for cooking. There are other varieties which can get as large too though, and they vary their genetic background.
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Full Size Fruit Plants

I was more or less just curious. Never having grown bananas or really "Studied" anything about them before last year, I had always been under the belief (as are probably most people... that don't know much about bananas) that there's Cavendish, larger Plantains and baby bananas. Now that I have several different types, I was surprised how many are tiny bananas and not larger 7-8" types.
I was also wondering just for convenience. Eating or bringing one banana with me somewhere, as opposed to 3 or 4 small ones could be more convenient.
So, Basically, what someone born and raised in the USA would consider a Dessert Banana (maybe I should have stated it that way), is really only going to be found in a Cavendish variety or a FHIA cultivar..
Gros Michel
Cavendish
Dwarf Cavendish
Williams
Double Mahoi
Grand Nain
SH3640
And a few others I'm guessing?
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Have:
Mysore - Rajapuri - TT - Blue Java - Orinoco - Hua Moa - Gros Michel - Dwarf Red - Dwarf Namwah - (Red?) Iholena - Dwarf Brazilian - Pisang Klotek - Veinte Cohol - Double Mahoi - California Gold - Velutina - a Pineapple flavored type (Pisang Raja perhaps?) - 2 unknown dwarfs, one is probably a SDC and the other probably another Dwarf Namwah... time will tell.
I think I've gone Bananas!
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full Size Fruit Plants

Despite what you have heard, size isn't everything. The point of multiple varieties is mostly about different flavors. You can always buy "Cavendish-sized" Cavendish bananas in the store - and cheaper than you can grow them. But you can't buy Saba, Praying Hands, Goldfinger, Misi Luki and a host of others in the store, no matter what the size of the banana is. Many have better flavor. If they are smaller, eat two.
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full Size Fruit Plants

I totally agree with pitangadiego. I would eat 1 goldfinger over a car load of cavendish. It's more about the different flavors and even the excitement of a flower/bunch ripening/trying one for the first time, etc. the experience and joy of growing is way better than an extra couple bites.

Like Gabe said the pruning does make them bigger. Like all my veinte cohol bunches I cut the bottom 3 hands or so just to get bigger fruit since they are so small anyway. Pruning a medium sized would make it a lot bigger.

Also Orinocos are fairly big. I would eat a good one over a cavendish. A lot are heavier/more dense also. Cavendish is dry/airy/fluffy. A dense, creamy, smaller one is more filling to me than a bigger cav.

That being said even my home grown gran nain was WAY! Better than store bought ones. I'm not sure why but it wasn't my pride or anything it really was way more creamy and had a way stronger taste.
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Old Yesterday, 10:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Full Size Fruit Plants

Thanks pitangadiego. and I did obtain the plants I have based on what I've read about their flavors and am looking forward to trying them all.
Tytaylor77, I have heard that home grown Cavendish and Gran Nain often taste better.
I do really like the taste of Orinoco too.. Most people seem to eat them before they're really ripe! They'll have a lot more black on the peel than a Cav when it's ripe.
Which Goldfinger are you both referring to? American Goldfinger or the other Goldfinger? Is there much of a difference in taste? Has anyone compared them?
Maybe the next one I look for will be a Goldfinger... either one as I'm not sure what the differences are.
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Have:
Mysore - Rajapuri - TT - Blue Java - Orinoco - Hua Moa - Gros Michel - Dwarf Red - Dwarf Namwah - (Red?) Iholena - Dwarf Brazilian - Pisang Klotek - Veinte Cohol - Double Mahoi - California Gold - Velutina - a Pineapple flavored type (Pisang Raja perhaps?) - 2 unknown dwarfs, one is probably a SDC and the other probably another Dwarf Namwah... time will tell.
I think I've gone Bananas!
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Old Yesterday, 09:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full Size Fruit Plants

I agree with that orinoco. I think how they get so mushy when they turn sweeter is the part people don't like. It's a good mushy to me as long as the core isn't bad. If the core is bad then trash time lol. I wish someone would figure the core out and what causes it!! It would make a lot of ok bananas excellent.

I am talking about the TC "American" goldfinger. I am growing both side by side and see very little difference. The TC "american" GF does grow faster than the usda Tars GF. Had a bad winter here. I may see fruit this year but doubt it.


I've heard the usda Tars is a stronger plant. I know propping the TC ones I have is Required!! It seems when the plant blooms the big stout pstem turns very weak. I haven't tried as many as other guys here but wow the taste to me is amazing. Perfect sweetness/flavor/texture. And they don't brown! Amazing banana!
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Old Today, 01:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Full Size Fruit Plants

So, there's a TC "american" GF and a USDA Tars GF? Which is the FHIA-1 GF?

And is Goldfinger really that good? The Wiki states "
Quote:
Ripe fruit is OK, but well below the flavor quality of a Cavendish
." That doesn't sound that tasty. :-)
But yet I keep reading people stating they love them.
Do you have SH-3640? I hear that's really good too
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Have:
Mysore - Rajapuri - TT - Blue Java - Orinoco - Hua Moa - Gros Michel - Dwarf Red - Dwarf Namwah - (Red?) Iholena - Dwarf Brazilian - Pisang Klotek - Veinte Cohol - Double Mahoi - California Gold - Velutina - a Pineapple flavored type (Pisang Raja perhaps?) - 2 unknown dwarfs, one is probably a SDC and the other probably another Dwarf Namwah... time will tell.
I think I've gone Bananas!
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Old Today, 09:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full Size Fruit Plants

It was for me. Ha several bunches last year. All were amazing.

I prefer over:
Store cav
Homegrown cav
Manzano
Brazilian
Veinte cohol
Neypoovan
Namwa is close
Nino is very close
Hua moa
Several overripe plantains
But goldfinger is top all these to me. Everyone's taste is different I guess.
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