This isn't some sort of photo-shopping trick or something from a Dr. Suess book. Blue bananas actually exist in the wild and they taste just like vanilla ice cream. They're known by different names: Blue Java bananas, Ice Cream bananas, Hawaiian bananas, Cenizo or Ney Mannan, this fruit is hardy, cold-tolerant, and is said to be the same consistency as ice cream. And on top of that, it tastes like sweet vanilla custard.
Unlike the normal bananas you can buy in the grocery store (called Cavendish bananas), the blue java boasts a silvery blue peel when ripened. Hard to compare to the pale yellow we normally associate with a typical banana! The banana variety, which is a hybrid of the Musa balbisiana and Musa acuminata banana cultivars, originated in Southeast Asia, then spread to Hawaii, Fiji, the Philippines, and Central America as reported by Live Love Fruit. However, finding these blue-green bananas in the United States is easier said than done.
Where to Find Blue Java Bananas
While you can book a trip to Hawaii or Fiji to grab one of these sweet bananas straight from the tropical plant, it's totally possible to buy a bushel of this type of banana online when they are in season. One purveyor, Miami Fruit, sells a variety of tropical fruits including jackfruit, durian, mangosteen, and blue java bananas. Pre-order a 10-13 pound shipment for the 2020 season.
More of a hands-on person? Try growing your own banana tree. Unlike most tropical fruits, the blue java banana plant can thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 8-10, making California, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina prime places to plant.
And don't worry about waiting years for these plants to start to produce fruit. According to NovoTaste, it's possible to for trees to produce fruit within 9 months, making it only a short wait to enjoy homegrown bananas. When fully grown the blue java banana tree will stand 15 to 20 feet in height and require a lot of watering and fertilizing.
How To Eat It
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Another bunch of Blue Java bananas on the way. The developing fruit at the base of the female flowers, will turn from green to a beautiful bluish color not long after making their first appearance. The flesh of this variety is white and has a fluffy texture when eaten at just the right time. That time is soon after the bananas turn yellow. Once they get past optimal ripeness, I find the texture undesirable. Hopefully this bunch will develop well.
Given the cost of the fruit (that is if you don't grow it yourself) we recommend eating these sweet nanas plain, letting you completely enjoy the flavor and texture. However, if you find yourself with a whole stockpile of blue java bananas, they go great in smoothies, as a topping for ice cream, or even dipped in chocolate and frozen. You could even make "nice-cream" out of it by freezing the banana then blending it in a food processor for a few seconds. However you enjoy it, make sure to save a few bananas to share with friends.
This article was originally published on June 10, 2019.