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5+ A Day

Bananas

Bananas
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Availability

Bananas are imported to NZ from the Philippines, South America and Mexico, and are available all year round.

 

Storage and Handling

Store at room temperature. Handle all fresh produce with care.

 

History

It is thought bananas originated in the jungles of Malaysia.  There is evidence that bananas were cultivated in Papua New Guinea around 5000 BC.  It is likely that other species of wild bananas were domesticated in other areas of Southeast Asia also.  Early travellers and settlers would carry the roots of the plant as they migrated to the Middle East and Africa.  The Spanish explorers brought bananas to the Western Hemisphere.

 

Facts

  • There are two main varieties of bananas - sweet or plantain 
  • Plantains are green and are eaten as a vegetable as they have a lower water content and are starchy
  • Bananas don’t grow on trees, they are actually related to the lily and orchid families
  • Bananas are easily digested and have twice as much Vitamin C as apples and pears
  • Globally, bananas rank fourth after rice, wheat and maize in human consumption

 

Growing Facts

  • Bananas grow in hot tropical regions 
  • Plants grow to about 10 metres tall  
  • They need good rainfall but well-drained soil  
  • The fruit grows in bunches called hands  
  • They are picked green and begin to ripen as soon as they are harvested  
  • After fruiting, the banana plants die back, or are cut back  
  • They produce new growth for the next generation of fruit

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 banana - 128g

Avg Quantity per serving Avg Quantity per 100g
Energy (kJ/Cal) 508/121 397/95
Protein (g) 1.3 1.0
Fat, total (g) 0.4 0.3
- saturated (g) 0.1 0.1
Carbohydrate (g) 26.6 20.8
- sugars (g) 19.5 15.2
Dietary Fibre (g) 2.3 1.8
Sodium (mg) 0 0
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.40 0.31
Vitamin C (mg) 7.0 5.5
Potassium (mg) 461 360
Iron (mg) 0.3 0.2

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 8th Edition, Plant & Food Research

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