Red bananas have several names, depending on its growing region, including the Red Spanish, Red Cuban, Colorado or Lal kela. Its official botanical name is Red Dacca. It is a vigorous, highly resistant grower, producing bunches with up to one hundred fruits. Red bananas are the most sought after “alternative” banana variety to common yellow bananas within industrialized countries in the world.
The Red banana has more beta carotene and Vitamin C than Yellow banana varieties. All bananas contain three natural sources of sugar: sucrose, fructose, and glucose, making them a source of instant and sustainable energy.
Although a ripe Red banana can be great for fresh-eating, it is preferred as a baking variety for both desserts and semi-savory dishes. In dessert preparations, complimentary pairings include apples, stonefruit, berries such as strawberries and blueberries, citrus, lemongrass, cream, yogurt and mint. Within savory dishes, complimentary pairings include cream, chiles, pork, chicken, black beans, limes, mango, pineapple and nuts such as cashews and hazelnuts.
The Piro tribe lives in the jungles of Peru and have a culture completely based around the banana. Celebrations consist of giving the bananas as gifts. The Young males in the tribe compete to climb banana trees the fastest and the highest. A tribe superstition revolves around the belief that each end of the banana contains a good side and a bad side. The tribe believes that if you open a banana on the bad side you are inviting a bad omen into your life. To avoid this – they have a culturally specific method to opening the banana. They twist the banana from the middle in order to negate the “bad” side of the banana.
Red bananas are native to India and Southeast Asia, where their wild ancestors are also native. Through trade routes they have been transported into similar sub-tropical regions where they flourish. These regions include Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Pacific Islands.