My Latest Obsession: Baby Bananas
When not eating for work, I tend to rely on the same foods over and over—eggs, chickpeas, Greek yogurt, and bananas. Lots of bananas. There are plenty of days when I'll eat two or more. I find them more satisfying than most other fruit, a little more substantial; I love that creamy sweetness when they're perfectly ripe. And unlike apples, which can be mealy, or peaches, which can be stringy, bananas are a pretty solid bet; it's hard to get a bad one.
But ever since I spotted mini-bananas at a fruit stand in Chinatown, I've been buying them up like crazy. (My Brooklyn organic market sells them, too; but in our office's new neighborhood, they're about 1/3 that price.) And once I went mini, I never went back.
Why? They're just more of everything I like about bananas. In general, they have a smoother, creamier interior; the texture is silkier, with less of that stiffness or stringiness. They're a little sweeter, with a vanilla-y, almost floral scent. And they're of a size I love: sometimes one banana is too much for a small snack, or two just too much for a larger one; with the minis, you can eat exactly as much banana as you want.
A few notes of caution: they're thinner-skinned than normal bananas, so they bruise easily; they won't fare too well tossed into a bag without cushioning. And while the matter of optimal banana coloring is debatable—even in the Serious Eats office, some prefer golden yellow with remnants of green, others brown-spotted all over—with mini bananas, there's not really a question: they've got to get well into the yellow stage. Any sooner than that and they've got the sticky, dry-your-mouth-out consistency of genuinely green normal bananas.
But when they're perfectly ripe, they're delicious. I'm left wondering about their applications in various scenarios; would they be better than normal bananas on a peanut butter sandwich? What about a snack-sized chocolate-dipped banana? I can already envision tonight's dessert: a dainty mini-banana split.