Blue Bananas Are a Thing That Actually Exist and Taste Like Vanilla Ice Cream

Share on Facebook

Remember that health craze that got started by the Instagram vegan community or Gwenyth Paltrow or someone that was all about freezing bananas and then blitzing them with a hand blender to make creamy sweet ice cream?

“Nice cream,” I believe it was called – nice in that no animals were harmed in the making, unless you used regular cow’s milk instead of the recommended splash of almond, that is.

I don’t know what happened to that craze. Maybe the laborious task of unpeeling the frozen bananas became too arduous for everyone. Maybe in 2019 we just want everything a bit faster and a bit simpler.

Fortunately, there’s a new banana dessert craze to hit the internet.

That’s right, the blue banana is here and it’s exactly everything I didn’t know the world needed.

 

Since the industrial revolution, the fruit and vegetable industry has gone through a transition. Farming has changed to meet the demands of the superstores and a level of sameness in all of our fresh produce is met as standard.  

The blue java banana is a hybrid of two different kinds of banana: the “musa balbisiana” variety, and the “musa acuminata” species. Both banana types are native to South-East Asia.

So, okay, we’ve got these two different breeds of banana, cool, great, but… how do we get them to, you know.. mate?

Well, at least, the bananas that we buy in the supermarket today are. The seedless bananas that we eat and slip over today are basically sterile and do not reproduce. Instead of “reproducing,” these nanas make clones of each other.  

The banana breed that we are all familiar with today is actually a hybrid, too – or a triploid, to get real technical about it.

Well, that’s the wild banana that our packaged clone sci-fi bananas come from. The musa acuminata breed is grown in South-East Asia, mostly in Indonesia, went through a journey of banana domestication some 6,500 years ago.

The Indonesian people recognized how tasty the flesh of the musa Acuminata fruit was. Typically, wild bananas had minimal flesh and lots of hard inedible seeds. After recognizing how tasty the sweet yellowy flesh was, people invested in growing the most fleshy musa acuminata plants as possible.

… Is one way of putting it. Another is that, as the Indonesian communities spread, the migration of the musa acuminata began. While breeding between wild seeded bananas continued with hundreds of different varieties across the globe, the farmers’ challenge to make the fleshiest nana known to man became the universal conquest.

The final hybridization that occurred to give us the bananas that we know today took place with a scientific wonder called “meiotic restitution”. This is when breeds of banana mated to give us the triploid bananas – a banana species with three chromosomes, instead of two.  This tripling of chromosomes miraculously created the seedless, sweet tasting, fleshy fruit that we are so familiar with.

Right, right, I’ll get back to it. The java banana, I figure, came out of the experimental period of hybridization wherein farmers were experimenting with crossing different varieties of banana.

Good question. The trouble with having a standardized farming system is that farmers produce a crop that the consumer demands – a crop that is dependable, cost-effective and relatively unchallenging to grow.

The bananas that we all know and love are the ones that the consumer demands. No one’s asking for blue ice-cream bananas so the farmers aren’t growing them.

If you want to try to grow your own java blue bananas, go for it! You can even buy the seeds on Amazon.

One of the reasons that farmers haven’t been growing these tasty blue fruits is because they require very specific conditions. To grow java blue bananas you need extremely high moisture soil, plenty of heat and sunlight and patience. The plant is relatively sturdy and is pretty resilient to disease (as most hybrids are), however, they can get caught out by Panama disease, which is a type of fungus that completely wiped out the most popular banana variety of the 1950s, the “gros michel”.

According to those that have tried it, the blue java banana has a distinctive sweet aromatic flavor that is reminiscent of custard and vanilla. Sweet mother of mary…

Some people seem to be adamant that java blue bananas don’t exist! All over the internet, there is speculation as to whether the ice cream fruit really exists. If you are yet to be convinced, why not head over to YouTube and watch people trying it?

Fulop is your no-nonsense-says-it-like-it-is-no-fancy-lighting-youtube-farmer. He has posted a comprehensive and honest vid of himself and his dog, Rocky, tasting this elusive banana. So if you want to see someone trying it, I’d recommend this guy.

Although you and I may have only just heard about the phenomena that are the blue java banana, people in the countries in which it actually grows, of course, know all about it.  

If you find yourself in Hawaii ask for “the ice-cream banana”. If you find yourself in Fijji ask for “a Hawaiian banana”. If you find yourself in the Philippines ask for “a Krie”. If you find yourself in Central America as for a “Cenizo”.

It actually is blue. The blue haze is a powdery substance that sits on the skin of the banana. It can be wiped off to reveal the yellow skin underneath but it is there.