Though the name “Grand Nain Banana Tree” might sound intimidating, I promise you actually are much more familiar with this tropical fruit than you might think! That’s because Grand Nain bananas are the cultivar of choice of the famous, 150 plus year old banana brand, Chiquita (the one with the blue label you can find in virtually any grocery store). These bananas are great eaten straight from the peel, and adapt virtually to any sweet and savory recipe.
Read on to learn all about the Grand Nain Banana Tree!
History of the Grand Nain Banana Tree
The Grand Nain Banana Tree, whose Latin name is Musa acuminata, originates from Southeast Asia, and enjoys the reputation of being one of the first domesticated plants in history. And they’ve certainly come a long way! About 50 billion Grand Nain bananas are consumed yearly worldwide, and they are a staple in most consumers’ snacking diet. Today you can find Grand Nain plantations all over the globe, from Central America to Africa to Southeast Asia.
The leading global banana company “Chiquita Banana” plays a big role in this banana’s popularity. Though their iconic banana-now-lady with a fruit basket on her head brand was established in the mid-twentieth century, their vision started in the late nineteenth century.
Whether through Chiquita Banana or independently, bananas in general have played a large role in pop culture throughout the ages. Its curved shape reminds people of old-fashion telephones. Its slippery peel is the subject of many hilarious wipe-out scenes. It makes appearances in famous desserts—banana split, anyone? Even the best way to peel a banana (which side do you start from? or do you just split it in half as monkeys do?) is the subject of fierce debate!
Needless to say that all of these subjects have made the banana tree the beloved fruit it is today.
Description of the Grand Nain Banana Tree and Fruit
Grand Nain Banana
Since the Grand Nain banana is one of the most common banana varieties found in just about any grocery store, you probably know what the fruit looks like already. But just in case, it is a seedless bright yellow cylindrical-ish shaped fruit with tapered ends that curve into a half-circle. The peel is thick and usually comes apart in three or four sections when being peeled, to reveal a creamy yellow-white flesh.
The edible part of the banana is soft and easy to bite into or cut, and the taste is mild—undeniably banana! Underripe bananas are green and taste powdery, while overripe bananas are brown, squishy, and sweet. People disagree on the best point of ripeness to consume a banana, so it’s up to you to decide what color indicates the perfect taste for you!
Anecdotally, bananas picked right off the tree are supposedly sweeter than those you buy in the store and ripen on your kitchen counter… and it’s not hard to believe.
Grand Nain Banana Tree
Now, what you might be less familiar with, is the look of a Grand Nain banana tree. A Grand Nain banana tree grows to a height of eight to 10 feet, with foliage of six to eight feet wide, and is the fastest growing banana tree of all varieties. “Grand Nain” actually means “big dwarf” in French, and that’s because it’s bigger than the dwarf varieties of banana trees, but certainly dwarf-sized in comparison to the 25 foot banana tree varieties out there. Their size gives them relatively good wind protection, though their massively long and wide green leaves can become torn and tattered.
The tree thrives in containers as well, which means as long as you have a greenhouse or warm spot in your home, you can have fresh bananas pretty much anywhere. Grand Nain banana trees grow their bananas in large heads, and are surprisingly disease resistant. They are a common choice for landscape designers looking to add a touch of tropical to their look.
The interesting thing about Grand Nain banana trees, which are part of the Cavendish banana cultivar group, is that they’re not actually trees at all! They’re herbaceous plants, meaning that they’re related to herbs. In fact, if you take a good look at your Grand Nain banana tree, you’ll realize that its trunk is actually made up of tightly wrapped, concentric layers of leaves.
Where to Buy the Grand Nain Banana Tree
Hopefully thus far I’ve made it abundantly clear that Grand Nain bananas can be found in virtually any grocery store, and that if you’ve eaten even just one banana before, chances are that it was a Grand Nain banana.
In fact, each year 105 million tons are cultivated—the Grand Nain banana tree being one of the most popular varieties. This is because its medium height makes harvesting easier, along with the fact that, as mentioned above, the trees are wind and disease resistant—all these details factor together to make the Grand Nain banana easily commercialized.
Which means that your Grand Nain banana craving can be satisfied by a quick trip to any local grocery store. You could probably also find them at convenience stores and gas stations!
But if you’re looking into buying the Grand Nain Banana Tree itself, there are great online options for your every banana tree need.
For obscure reasons, it seems like coming across Grand Nain banana tree seeds is pretty difficult, thus your best bet is to either acquire dwarf banana plant seeds online, or simply purchase a young transplant. Unfortunately, you can’t just stick a banana in the ground like you would an apple core—Grand Nain bananas were developed to be seedless, and that’s part of their appeal!
How to Use the Grand Nain Banana Tree
The answer if simple: you eat it! Here I’ve listed some options to inspire the inclusion of bananas in your future cooking and baking:
- Make banana pancakes: not pancakes with bananas, but substituting flour with a ripe banana! They work great because of how starchy they are. Which means that you can really substitute the flour out of any simple baking mix!
- Skewer banana coins on a toothpick, dip them in chocolate fondue, and either eat them hot or stick them in the fridge for a crunchier dessert. If you choose the latter, experiment with different kinds of toppings: from salt to chili powder, and shredded coconut to mini marshmallows!
- Top your oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt with banana slices for a healthy and filling breakfast or snack.
- Use bananas as a base for your smoothy. In fact, most smoothy recipes call for bananas anyway!
- Layer a slice of white bread or bagel with peanut butter and thin-cut banana slices. If you’re not a peanut butter fan, Nutella also pairs amazingly well with bananas.
- Use bananas as a substitute for coconut milk in curry recipes.
- Make banana chips with a food dehydrator. If you don’t have one, you can always use an oven, as long as it has low enough temperature settings to not burn your banana chips!
- Use Grain Nain banana tree leaves to wrap meat and veggies over a grill instead of tin foil. Just make sure to check them for bugs or other creepy crawlies first.
Recipes with Grand Nain Bananas
If you’re more of a step-by-step person, check out these amazing recipes that include fresh bananas:
Now You Know All About the Grand Nain Banana Tree!
Though you’ve most likely already encountered the Grand Nain banana tree before happening upon my post, I hope now you’ve learned even more about this iconic and wildly popular fruit. Excited for more banana content? Then check out my banana tree page for info guides, growing tips, recipes, and more!