What Is a Manzano Banana? Here's What to Know About the Adorable, Tiny Fruit

It may be small, but this miniature banana is packed with flavor.

Bananas are always stocked in my kitchen. The sweet yellow fruits are a must-have ingredient for my morning smoothies. And when they become a little too ripe (which let's be honest, I let happen on purpose), I can't wait to bake some delicious banana bread or muffins. These common bananas likely sitting on your counter now are the Cavendish variety. But did you know there are actually more than 1,000 varieties of bananas out there subdivided into 50 groups? With Florida and Hawaii as the exceptions, most of these varieties aren't found in the U.S. but rather warm, tropical climates around the world. On the occasion different varieties show up at your local market, I encourage you to keep an eye out for Manzano bananas. They're short, chubby little bananas bursting with flavor. Here's what to know about the adorable Manzano bananas.

Manzano Banana
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What Is a Manzano Banana?

As you can see from this gorgeous photo, Manzano bananas are about half the size of Cavendish bananas (4 inches vs. 7 inches). But there are more differences than just size. The small Manzano bananas have a firm, thicker skin than its traditional banana relative and are native to Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

What Does a Manzano Banana Taste Like?

Manzano bananas are also commonly referred to as Manzano apple bananas or simply, apple bananas. If that name doesn't give it away, a ripe Manzano banana actually has a flavor profile similar to a sweet apple or a strawberry. A banana that has the same texture of the everyday Cavendish but with apple and strawberry notes? Count me in! Regular bananas are in their prime eating state with a bright golden-yellow hue, but Manzano bananas are actually considered ripe (and ready for eating) when the skin is completely dark.

Manzano Banana Nutrition

Though they're smaller, Manzano bananas contain similar nutrition to regular bananas. Here's how they compare per one banana serving:

  • Manzano banana: 90 calories, .33 g fat, 23 g carbohydrates, 12 g sugar, 1.1 g protein, 362 mg potassium
  • Cavendish banana: 105 calories, .39 g fat, 27 g carbohydrates, 14 g sugar, 1.3 g protein, 422 mg potassium

Where Can I Buy Manzano Bananas?

It's probably easy to find Manzano bananas year-round in their tropical climate homes, but a trip to South America isn't the only way to enjoy one of these cuties. If you're lucky, there are occasions where Manzano bananas could show up in local larger grocery stores. International grocery stores or Hispanic markets may also get imports of Manzano bananas. Don't want to wait around for the opportunity to try the little bananas? You can try ordering from an online produce retailer like Etsy's MaiOnlineShop where you can get five pounds of fresh Manzano bananas ($40, Etsy) delivered right to your home.

I definitely keep my eyes peeled for Manzano bananas while grocery shopping, and I hope you'll find some to try, too. I'm sure they'd be delicious in any banana dessert recipe, but I love the idea of toting them for a quick, healthy snack.

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