Baby Banana: (pictured far left) Now appearing in many supermarkets, this variety is also known as the ladyfinger banana, bananito or murapo. The sweetest of the commercial bananas, it tastes of cinnamon, guava and pineapple. When to eat: Its thick skin turns yellow with black spots when ripe. This banana is sweeter than the Cavendish and has deep yellow-colored flesh with a banana custard flavor. One has 80 calories.
Cavendish: (pictured second from left) Your regular ol’ run-of-the-mill (yet delicious) banana. The most common variety in North American supermarkets is cultivated by the majority of large-scale banana growers for worldwide distribution. When to eat: Allow to ripen at room temperature and consume after its skin fully changes from green to yellow. A medium one has 100 calories.
Burro: (pictured in the middle) Stockier than other varieties, with square edges, the Burro has a mild flavor similar to the Cavendish. It is ripe when the skin is yellow with black spots.
Red Banana: (pictured second from right) This smallish mahogany-colored fruit, also called Indio, Cuban Red, Jamaican Red, Macaboo and Morado, hails from Ecuador and Central America. Its creamy white to pink flesh has a slight raspberry flavor and floral aroma. Higher in vitamin C than yellow varieties, it is also rich in carotene: the redder the color, the more carotene it contains. When to eat: The reddish skin becomes more purple or dark red when it’s ripe. It will still be somewhat firm, yet yield slightly to gentle pressure.
Manzano: (pictured far right) Also known as the “apple banana,” the stubby Manzano is sweet with hints of tart apple and strawberry flavor. When to eat: Its thick skin will be heavily mottled with black, but color isn’t always the best indicator: it should yield to gentle pressure before eating (when unripe, Manzanos can be very tannic).