Musa is one of two or three genera in the family Musaceae; it includes bananas and plantains. Around 70 species of Musa are known, with a broad variety of uses.
Cooking bananas are banana cultivars in the genus Musa whose fruits are generally used in cooking. They may be eaten ripe or unripe and are generally starchy. Many cooking bananas are referred to as plantains or green bananas, although not all of them are true plantains. Bananas are treated as a starchy fruit with a relatively neutral flavour and soft texture when cooked. Bananas fruit all year round, making them a reliable all-season staple food.
A banana is an edible fruit – botanically a berry – produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called "plantains", distinguishing them from dessert bananas. The fruit is variable in size, color, and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind, which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible seedless (parthenocarp) bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, and Musa × paradisiaca for the hybrid Musa acuminata × M. balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific name Musa sapientum is no longer used.
From the time of Linnaeus until the 1940s, different types of edible bananas and plantains were given Linnaean binomial names, such as Musa cavendishii, as if they were species. In fact, edible bananas have an extremely complicated origin involving hybridization, mutation, and finally selection by humans. Most edible bananas are seedless (parthenocarpic), hence sterile, so they are propagated vegetatively. The giving of species names to what are actually very complex, largely asexual, hybrids (mostly of two species of wild bananas, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana) led to endless confusion in banana botany. In the 1940s and 1950s, it became clear to botanists that the cultivated bananas and plantains could not usefully be assigned Linnean binomials, but were better given cultivar names.
Banana chips are dried slices of bananas (fruits of herbaceous plants of the genus Musa of the soft, sweet "dessert banana" variety). They can be covered with sugar or honey and have a sweet taste, or they can be fried in oil and spices and have a salty or spicy taste. Banana chips are similar to chifle, usually made from firmer, starchier fruit varieties of the genus Musa commercially called plantains or "cooking bananas".
This is a list of banana dishes and foods in which banana or plantain is used as a primary ingredient. Foods prepared with banana or plantain as a primary ingredient are also included in this list. A banana is an edible fruit produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. (In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called plantains.) The fruit is variable in size, color and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant.
"True" plantains are a group of cultivars of the genus Musa (bananas and plantains) placed in the Plantain subgroup of the AAB genome group. The term "plantain" can refer to all the banana cultivars which are normally eaten after cooking, rather than raw (see cooking banana), or it can refer to members of other subgroups of Musa cultivars, such as the Pacific plantains. True plantains are divided into four groups based on their bunch type: French, French Horn, False Horn and Horn plantains.
The bacteria Ralstonia solanacearum and related species cause bacterial wilt of bananas and plantains. The same bacteria also cause wilt diseases of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), aubergine (eggplant) (Solanum melongena), banana (Musa species), geranium (Pelargonium species), ginger (Zingiber officinale), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), sweet peppers (Capsicum species), olive (Olea europea), and others.
The genus Musa was created by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name may be derived from Antonius Musa, physician to the Emperor Augustus, or Linnaeus may have adapted the Arabic word for banana, mauz. The old biological name Musa sapientum = "Muse of the wise" arose because of homophony in Latin with the classical Muses.
Many wild banana species as well as cultivars exist in extraordinary diversity in India, China, and Southeast Asia. "There are fuzzy bananas whose skins are bubblegum pink; green-and-white striped bananas with pulp the color of orange sherbet; bananas that, when cooked, taste like strawberries. The Double Mahoi plant can produce two bunches at once. The Chinese name of the aromatic Go San Heong banana means 'You can smell it from the next mountain.' The fingers on one banana plant grow fused; another produces bunches of a thousand fingers, each only an inch long."
In Venezuela, a yo-yo is a traditional dish made of two short slices of fried ripened plantain (see Tajadas) placed on top of each other, with local soft white cheese in the middle (in a sandwich-like fashion) and held together with toothpicks. The arrangement is dipped in beaten eggs and fried again until the cheese melts and the yo-yo acquires a deep golden hue. They are served as sides or entrees.
Nagasari is a traditional steamed kue (Indonesian traditional cake) made from rice flour, coconut milk and sugar, filled with slices of banana. It is usually wrapped in banana leaves before being steamed, or prepared with pandan that gives it aroma. It is commonly eaten as a snack in Indonesia where it is also known as kue bandang-bandang by Bugis people. Sometimes it is simply called kue pisang (banana cake).