Pick fruits as a bunch (whole set of fruit), a hand (cluster), or fingers (singles). Ripens as the color changes from green to yellow, eventually becoming mottled with dark spots (Darley, 1993). Select bananas with a more rounded appearance and free from bruising and sap stains. The tropical climate accelerates ripening.


Whole bunches are best hung in a cool store-house or cool part of the kitchen. (Potter & Hotchkiss, 1998). Half-ripe bananas can be ripened by placing the fruits in a warm place or in a plastic bag. Ripe bananas give off ethylene gas, which promotes ripening, so placing green bananas in a bag with ripe ones also accelerates ripening. May be refrigerated, but the skin turns into a dark brown color. (Malolo et al., 2001).


  • Sweet bananas and plantains can be used interchangeably in recipes
  • Wash fruit well then peel and trim off ends
  • Ripe bananas are an excellent snack, can be easily added into fruit salad and dessert recipes when sliced, mashed, or pureed.
  • Fresh ripe bananas are a great weaning food for young children that can be mashed with breast milk.
  • Remove the tough outer layers of the flower bud, slice thinly into sections like an onion and wash in salty water to remove the sticky sap and then rinse in fresh water.
  • Banana flowers can be used in salads, soups, or other cooked dishes.
  • Green bananas can be cooked in their skin (skin peels off easily when cooled) as well as peeled.
  • Green bananas match well when cooked with coconut cream or other root crops, like taro and cassava. Traditionally, green bananas are cooked in earth ovens or over hot coals.
  • Be careful not to get the sap on clothes when peeling as it stains.
  • (Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 2004; Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 2005) Malolo et al., 2001)

Photo Source

J. Hollyer


Bananas are well suited to grow in Pacific environments, with the exception of atoll islands, and vary in size, shape, and color. Banana flesh is starchy (plantain variety) or sweet (sweet variety) in flavor and can be white, cream, yellow, or yellow-orange to orange in color. The skin is thin and tender to thick and leathery, and looks silver, yellow, green, or red (Lambert, 1968; Nelson, Ploetz, & Kepler, 2006).


Sweet Banana (Musa acuminata)
Sweet bananas, also referred to as dessert bananas or common eating bananas, are generalized as either Cavendish (larger fruits) or lady’s fingers (small and sweet) (Parkinson, 1989).


Plantain (Musa paradisiaca)
Plantains or cooking bananas are generally eaten when green but are also eaten in the half-ripe and ripe stages (Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 2004). The flesh of the plantain is less sweet but has more starch.


Banana Flowers
The banana flower buds are also picked from the ends of bunches from cooking bananas when the fruit is half grown. This does not damage the fruit.

Traditional Names
  • Chamorro – aga’1; chotda2
  • Chuukese – uuch
  • Hawaiian – maiʻa
  • Kosraean – usr
  • Marshallese – binana
  • Palauan – tuu
  • Pohnpeian – uht
  • Samoan – faʻī
  • Yapese – p’aw; wiishe