What is a Baby Banana?

S. N. Smith

One of the sweetest and smallest banana varieties, the baby banana is also known as the Finger Banana, Ladyfinger Banana, Nino Banana, Murapo, and Orito. Just about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long, when ripe, it has a thick, bright yellow peel and pale, creamy, dense flesh.

Baby bananas.
Baby bananas.

The baby banana is native to Colombia, where it grows on a tree-size plant in bunches of “hands” that may each contain ten to 12 “fingers,” or bananas. The bananas are harvested and shipped while still green.

Baby bananas may be mashed and made into banana bread.
Baby bananas may be mashed and made into banana bread.

Because of its petite size and sweetness, this little banana is loved by children. As a wholesome source of complex carbohydrates, it is a perfect addition to lunchboxes, providing a good energy boost for active kids. Like all bananas, it is loaded with nutrients. It is an excellent source of heart-healthy vitamin B6. In addition, the banana provides a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, which have many health benefits.

Baby bananas can substitute for "traditional" bananas in an orange-banana smoothie.
Baby bananas can substitute for "traditional" bananas in an orange-banana smoothie.

In addition to being eaten as is, the baby banana can be baked, sauteed, broiled, or even grilled, and it is a wonderful addition to fruit salads. For a healthy treat that children, especially, will love, peel one and push a wooden stick into one end. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it until solid. Serve it frozen. The frozen banana is delicious plain, or for a more indulgent dessert, dip it into chocolate syrup and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Bananas may be used to make kompot, a popular Russian drink.
Bananas may be used to make kompot, a popular Russian drink.

As with all bananas, the baby banana should be purchased while still relatively green. Be sure to select ones with smooth, unblemished skins. Store them at room temperature. Refrigerating bananas will retard the ripening process. If bananas are ripening too quickly for use, place them in the refrigerator. The skins will turn brown, but the flavor of the fruit will not be affected. To store for longer use, the bananas may be mashed with a little lemon juice and stored in resealable plastic bags in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw the frozen mashed bananas in the refrigerator and add to smoothies, banana bread, and cake batter.

Ripe baby bananas may be eaten as part of a fruit salad.
Ripe baby bananas may be eaten as part of a fruit salad.

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Discussion Comments


For the OP experiencing a film after eating a banana, the banana was not ripe. An unripe banana is more starch than sugar sweet. Sometimes bananas fail the ripening process with ethylene gas during transit to us. Bottom line, if the banana is still green and hard after a while, even with brown spots, it isn't ready to eat. If you have bananas that aren't ripening, put them in a paper bag with a ripe banana and the gas produced by the ripe one should ripen the others. If this doesn't work, then the banana was picked too soon or subjected to freezing temperatures that halted the ripening process.


@anon 73192: The same thing just happened to me. I starting eating a baby banana and this terrible film just coated the inside of my mouth. I had to scrape it off my tongue and the inside cheeks and roof of my mouth. Yuck. As someone else said, maybe we got a plaintain instead? I "thought" I bought baby bananas but maybe they were marked wrong.


I like bananas, and baby bananas are even greater! Their small size gives a perfect snack. They also look so cute!


To anon73192: do you think you ate a platano (plaintain)? They Re firm and used for cooking. The skin is thicker and browner than the yellow bananas we grew up eating.


I first saw these in Italy and I bought them for a picnic lunch. In Italian, their name is "bananino." I wanted to know more about them and couldn't find any decent results until I searched "baby banana." I prefer "bananino" and will always call them that.


I love them. it's just the right size the have a deeper flavor. You need to buy green and ripen at home.


I've seen bananas growing in Central and South America, so I'm not sure where you get that they aren't native to those places. Unless you mean in the sense that potatoes are not native to Ireland. They originally came from South America. But seriously, they are all native now!


Maybe I got a bad baby banana, but it was still hard even though having brown spots on the skin. And it left a terrible film/aftertaste in my mouth.


Dear anon25849,

Btw these bananas ARE native from Colombia. Believe me I know, because my dad worked for a banana company and exported them to the US.


All bananas are native to Asia - there are no bananas native to Columbia -


I prefer baby bananas to regular bananas, for two reasons. One they are sweeter and two, they are smaller, so they are just the right size for a snack.

According to United States Department of Agriculture bananas are the most consumed fresh fruit in United States. Bananas are followed by apples and then oranges.

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