If you’re a banana fan, chances are any other fruits like bananas will tantalize your taste buds too. Well, you’ll be happy to know that there are several others out there for you to try! Check out our list of 8 different varieties to explore next.
Plantains are often referred to as “cooking bananas”. They look and smell a lot like standard banana varieties, only their flesh isn’t as sweet. They’re cooked like vegetables when they’re unripe—namely when their skins are yellowish green rather than dark brown.
You can use this starchy fruit in a variety of different recipes. For example, if you have a mandoline slicer, you can try to make spicy homemade plantain chips.
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You’ve probably had underripe jackfruit as a substitute for pulled pork in vegan tacos and other dishes. When it’s immature, it has a very mild flavor and chewy texture that lends well to savory dishes.
In contrast, mature jackfruit softens and develops a mealy, banana-like texture. The flesh also sweetens exponentially, making it better for drinks and desserts than anything spicy or salty.
These fruits are indigenous to eastern areas of North America, and were treasured by the first peoples for thousands of years. When settlers were introduced to them, they immediately fell in love with them as well. The fruits are mango sized, full of creamy flesh that tastes like banana cream custard.
If you can find them at a local farmer’s market, be sure to try them! Otherwise, you can try to find them growing in the wild, or grow them in your own backyard, if you have a green thumb and some patience.
4. Custard Apple
Much like the North American pawpaw fruit, the custard apple is a fruit that’s similar to banana in flavor and texture, rather than appearance. These are native to Central America and the Caribbean, but have been naturalized throughout Southeast Asia., Africa, and Australia.
The skin is a bit difficult to cut through, but the fruit inside is well worth the effort. Look for these in Caribbean and Asian supermarkets, or ask your local grocer if they can get some in for you.
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Many people grow monstera plants decoratively, whether as houseplants or out in the garden. But few are even aware that it produces fruits, let alone that they grow fruits like banana!
Their fruiting bodies are oblong and pale green in color, so they look like a cross between cattail tops and cucumbers. Once you crack them open, you’ll find delicious fruity flesh that tastes like a mixture of banana and pineapple. It’s full of seeds though, so eat it carefully!
Have you heard of the Musa Karat fruit before? Unless you live in Micronesia, you might have never come across one before, let alone heard the name. These banana relatives are football shaped, and have bright orange flesh rather than pale and creamy.
In terms of flavor, they taste like a cross between bananas and mangoes. Health-wise, they’re so high in beta-carotene that they’re vital for helping to prevent blindness in children. Kids might balk at taking vitamins, but they’ll chow down on these tasty fruits quite eagerly, never knowing that they’re helping to strengthen their eyes in the process.
This banana cousin has orange-red skin, and its flesh can be either yellow or orange as well. While it’s shaped roughly like a banana (though a bit chunkier around the middle), they can’t be eaten raw. In fact, their fruit is so astringent that it can be downright unpleasant to bite into one, whether ripe or not.
Instead, these are better cooked in all manner of different dishes. They can be mashed like potatoes, made into dumplings with flour to be added to stew, or fried as a side dish. They’re very low in sugar, so their flavor won’t compete with other ingredients.
Okay, so this one is a bit tricksy. Technically, these blue Java bananas are also members of the Musa family. The difference lies in their flavor. While cenizo fruits look just like regular bananas—albeit blue ones—they don’t taste like the fruits we all know and love.
They taste like… (are you ready for this?) VANILLA ICE CREAM. This isn’t a joke. These fruits actually taste like creamy, custard-like, vanilla-rich ice cream. How amazing is that?
These fruits are native to Southeast Asia, but have been naturalized in Hawaii, Fiji, and some parts of Australia. If you can get your hands on some fresh ones, please enjoy them as thoroughly as possible. Eat them raw, freeze them and blend them into smoothies… just go nuts with them. Those of us who don’t live in those areas will either have to live vicariously through you, or try to grow them indoors ourselves.
Which of these fruits like bananas have you already tried? And which one will you try next? There are so many incredibly delicious fruits available on this plentiful planet that we could probably try a new variety every day for years.
Hey, I’m Joey. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and love everything about it. You can find my writing about food, kitchen appliances (such as blenders) and much more. Thanks for stopping by!