Do you know what are Saba Bananas? If you’re a fan of bananas, you may have heard of plantains or even red bananas, but have you ever heard of Saba bananas?
These uniquely delicious bananas are not as well known as their more popular cousins here in the U.S. the Cavendish, but they offer a distinct flavor and versatility that makes them a favorite among those in the know.
Saba bananas have an interesting “squared-off” shape, with rigid lines down the side and are somewhat fat in the center and come to points at the ends.
They are green when unripe, with a dark yellow, brown-flecked outer skin when ripe.
Like the familiar Cavendish, the Saba banana also grow in bunches (and upside down!) and turn yellow when ripe and ready to eat.
In this article, we’ll explore what are Saba bananas, how they differ from other types of bananas, and how you can use them to add a unique twist to your favorite recipes.
If you’re lucky enough to find (or grow!) Saba bananas in the U.S., you may want to know more about this amazing fruit.
Get ready to discover the sweet and savory world of Saba bananas!
Saba bananas are a type of banana commonly found in Southeast Asia and the Philippines but have slowly gained popularity in other parts of the world.
They are similar in size and shape to plantain bananas but have distinctly different flavors and textures.
Saba bananas are starchy and slightly tangy when unripe but develop a sweet and creamy flavor when ripe.
Unlike other varieties of bananas, Saba bananas are typically cooked before eaten, which brings out their natural sweetness and gives them a tender and fluffy texture.
They are commonly used in desserts, such as banana fritters or banana cakes, but also make a great addition to savory dishes like stews, soups, and curries.
Whether you’re a banana aficionado or just looking to try something new, Saba bananas are definitely worth a taste!
What Do Saba Bananas Taste Like?
If you’ve never tasted a Saba banana before, you might wonder what all the fuss is about.
While all bananas share some similarities in taste, Saba bananas offer a unique flavor profile that sets them apart from other varieties.
When unripe, they are quite starchy and slightly tangy, with a firmer texture than your typical yellow banana.
As they ripen, the starches break down, developing a rich, creamy sweetness with hints of vanilla and cinnamon.
When cooked, Saba bananas become soft and fluffy, with a texture that’s similar to a sweet potato.
Their flavor pairs well with sweet and savory dishes, making them a versatile ingredient in the kitchen.
Overall, Saba bananas offer a deliciously unique taste that is worth exploring if you’re a fan of bananas or looking to try something new.
Ways to Use Saba Bananas
Saba bananas are a versatile fruit that can be used in various ways.
They are particularly popular in the Philippines, where they are used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Here are just a few ways you can use Saba bananas in your cooking:
- Fried Saba Bananas: One of the most popular ways to enjoy Saba bananas is to fry them.
Simply slice the bananas into rounds, dip them in a batter, and fry them until they’re golden brown.
The result is a crispy and sweet treat that can be enjoyed on its own or served with ice cream or caramel sauce.
- Saba Banana Chips: Another popular way to prepare Saba bananas is to make banana chips.
Simply slice the bananas thinly and then deep-fry or bake them until they’re crispy.
While Saba bananas make a delicious snack simply peeled and enjoyed, use Saba banana chips to add crunch to salads or as a topping for oatmeal and yogurt.
- Saba Banana Jam: Saba bananas are also great for making jam.
Cook the sliced bananas with sugar, lemon juice, and a bit of water until they become thick and spreadable.
You can enjoy the jam on toast or use it as a filling for pastries or cakes.
- Saba Banana Curry: Saba bananas also make a great addition to curries.
Cut them into chunks and add them to your favorite curry recipe for a unique and delicious twist.
The natural sweetness of the bananas pairs well with spicy curries and savory dishes.
- Saba Banana Pudding: Lastly, Saba bananas can be used to make a delicious pudding.
Cook the bananas with milk, sugar, and cornstarch until the mixture thickens, then chill in the fridge until set. The resulting pudding is creamy, sweet, and perfect for a light dessert.
Whether you’re using them in sweet or savory dishes, Saba bananas are a delicious and versatile ingredient worth exploring in the kitchen.
Are Saba Bananas and Plantains the Same Thing?
There is a common misconception that bananas and plantains are the same things; they are, in fact, quite different.
There are several significant distinctions between the two, even though they are both classified as members of the banana family.
To begin, Saba bananas are a distinct kind of banana from plantains in terms of size, flavor, and consistency.
Plantains tend to be larger than Saba bananas. When ripe, Saba bananas have a flavor that is described as sweet and creamy, and when cooked, their texture is described as fluffy.
Plantains, on the other hand, are not as sweet as bananas and have a starchier, more rigid consistency after they have been cooked.
One other distinction between the two is the traditional manner in which they are both cooked.
Plantains are more usually used in savory recipes such as stews, soups, and fried meals, while Saba bananas are more commonly used in sweet dishes like fritters, cakes, and puddings.
The nutritional profiles of plantains and Saba bananas are very comparable to one another.
Because of their high levels of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, both of these foods may be beneficially included in a diet.
In general, although plantains and Saba bananas are both members of the banana family, they cannot be substituted for one another in terms of flavor, consistency, or preparation method.
Whether you like the sweetness of Saba bananas or the starchy deliciousness of plantains, both fruits provide a one-of-a-kind and scrumptious complement to a wide range of different cuisines.
How to Tell if Saba Bananas Are Ripe
If you’ve purchased Saba bananas and are wondering how to tell if they’re ripe, there are a few things to look for.
Unlike yellow bananas, Saba bananas don’t typically turn yellow when ripe. Instead, they may develop black spots or streaks on the skin, which is a sign that they are ready to eat.
The skin may also become slightly softer to the touch, although not as soft as a yellow banana.
When you cut into a ripe Saba banana, the flesh should be a creamy white color and have a slightly sweet aroma.
If the flesh is still firm and the aroma is not present, the banana is not yet ripe and should be left to ripen for a few more days.
It’s worth noting that if you’re planning on cooking the bananas, they can be used when they are still slightly green and firm, as the cooking process will bring out their natural sweetness.
Regardless of how you plan to use them, knowing when Saba bananas are ripe will ensure that you get the most flavor and enjoyment out of this delicious fruit.
How to Tell if Saba Bananas Have Gone Bad
Like all fruits, Saba bananas can go bad if not stored properly or consumed within a certain timeframe.
If you’re unsure whether your Saba bananas have gone bad, there are a few things to look out for.
First, check the skin of the banana for any signs of mold, indicating that the fruit has started to spoil.
Mold may appear as black or brown spots on the skin of the banana or as a fuzzy growth. If you see mold, it’s best to discard the banana.
Another thing to look out for is any unpleasant smells.
A bad Saba banana usually has a black or nearly back outer peel, and may give off a sour or unpleasant odor, which can be an indication that it has started to rot.
You should also check the texture of the banana.
If the skin feels very soft or the flesh feels mushy or discolored, it’s likely that the banana is past its prime and should not be eaten.
Lastly, if you see any signs of fruit flies or other pests around the bananas, it’s best to discard them to avoid any potential contamination.
To ensure that your Saba bananas last as long as possible, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
If you notice that your bananas are starting to ripen too quickly, you can slow the ripening process by placing them in the fridge.
In summary, if your Saba bananas have mold, give off an unpleasant odor, have a mushy texture, or show signs of fruit flies, they have likely gone bad and should be discarded.
Keep an eye out for these signs.
Properly storing your bananas can help you avoid wasting food and ensure that you have fresh, delicious Saba bananas on hand.
Tips on Picking Out Saba Bananas
When it comes to picking out Saba bananas, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the best quality fruit.
First, look for bananas that are firm and free of any bruises or soft spots.
While some black spots on the skin can indicate ripeness, be wary of bananas with large or excessive black spots, as this can be a sign of damage or spoilage.
Additionally, ensure the stem of the banana is still attached and not loose, as this can also be a sign of damage.
Another thing to consider is the color of the banana.
Saba bananas are a different variety than the yellow bananas you might be used to, so they won’t necessarily turn yellow when they’re ripe.
Instead, look for bananas with a green to yellow-green color, which indicates that they are still ripening.
You can also look for bananas with slightly blackened tips, as this can be a sign that the banana is starting to ripen.
If you’re planning on cooking with your Saba bananas, remember that you can use them when they’re still slightly green and firm.
The cooking process will bring out their natural sweetness, so you don’t need to wait until they’re ready to use them.
Lastly, consider where you’re purchasing your Saba bananas from.
Ideally, you’ll want to buy them from a reputable source that has a high turnover rate, as this will ensure that you’re getting the freshest possible fruit.
If you’re buying bananas from a grocery store, try to choose ones from the top of the bunch, as these are often the freshest.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure that you’re picking out the best possible Saba bananas for your needs.
Whether you’re snacking on them raw or using them in your favorite recipes, fresh and high-quality Saba bananas are the key to getting the most flavor and enjoyment out of this delicious fruit.
How to Store Saba Bananas
To ensure that your Saba bananas stay fresh and delicious for as long as possible, it’s important to store them properly.
Ideally, you’ll want to keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This can be a pantry, a kitchen counter, or even a shelf in your fridge.
Remember that Saba bananas do not need to be refrigerated, but storing them in the fridge can help slow down the ripening process if you need to keep them fresh for a longer period.
Note that if you refrigerate them too soon, such as when they are still slightly green, it stops the ripening process and they will stay that color (and flavor).
If you’ve purchased Saba bananas that are not yet ripe, you can leave them out on the counter until they reach your desired level of ripeness.
To speed up the ripening process, you can place them in a paper bag with an apple or a tomato, as these fruits give off ethylene gas that can help ripen the bananas more quickly.
Once your Saba bananas are ripe, it’s best to consume them within a few days to ensure they don’t go bad.
By storing your Saba bananas properly, you can extend their shelf life and enjoy this delicious fruit at its best.
The bottom line
Saba bananas are a unique and versatile fruit popular in many parts of the world.
These bananas are slightly larger and firmer than the more common yellow bananas.
They have a slightly tangy flavor that makes them a great ingredient for various sweet and savory dishes.
Whether you’re using them to make traditional Filipino desserts like turon or using them as a substitute for potatoes in savory dishes, Saba bananas are a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet.
To help you make the most of this unique fruit, we’ve compiled a list of FAQs and tips to help you pick out the best bananas, store them properly, and use them in your favorite recipes.
So whether you’re a seasoned Saba banana fan or you’re just discovering this delicious fruit for the first time, you’ll find everything you need to know about Saba bananas here.