Bananas are the most popular fruit on the planet and they’re grown all year round. In fact, most stores sell them at a loss near the front of the store, simply to lure people in.
National Geographic recently published a Banana Report as part of its Urban Expeditions series. It contains at least a hundred interesting banana facts, which we worked through to find the 10 most interesting tidbits.
10. Banana Figures
Bananas account for 75% of the global tropical fruit trade, which amounts to more than 100 billion bananas every single year.
9. How long to grow a banana?
Like a human, it takes 9 months to grow a banana bunch. Each bunch contains around 170 bananas.
Bananas are grown in around 150 countries and more than 1000 varieties are available. The Cavendish banana is the most widely grown.
7. The kings of consumption
Rwanda eats the most bananas per person per year. The average Rwandan consumes 279kg of banana per year. The average US person only eats 12kg of banana per year.
Ethylene gas is used to riped bananas. Green bananas are kept in a controlled environment with between 60% to 70% humidity. The gas is pumped into these rooms and the bananas are left overnight to ripen.
5. Most wasted
As bananas are the most plentiful fruit on the planet, it only makes sense that they are the most wasted. The UK wastes the most bananas annually. They chuck 1,4 million bananas in the bin every day. Here in SA we simply use overripe bananas to make banana bread.
Bananas are far from going extinct, but certain varieties are in danger. The ‘Gros Michel’ banana completely died out after a fungal epidemic in the 50s.
3. In second place
The second most available fruit is the watermelon, followed by apples, grapes, oranges and coconuts.
2. Very Berry
The banana is classified as a berry.
1. What’s in a name?
The word banana comes from the Arabic word ‘banan,’ which means ‘finger’.