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.
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.
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.
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.
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.