What Are Burro Bananas And How Do They Stand Out From Other Varieties?

Bananas are a delicious and nutritious fruit that many people keep on hand as a staple. From smoothies to peanut butter and banana sandwiches, the soft and sweet fruit can be enjoyed in many different ways. There are quite a few different varieties of bananas, from the ubiquitous Cavendish bananas to blue java bananas. And just like varieties of any fruit or vegetable, each type of banana has its own unique characteristics.

One lesser-known variety is burro bananas. These bananas offer a distinct flavor and texture that sets them apart from other bananas. Apart from their flavor, you might be surprised how people all over the world enjoy these bananas (in addition to pulling their peels back and eating them plain). Let's take a closer look at where and how burro bananas are grown — and how they differ from other bananas.

What are burro bananas?

Burro bananas are a type of banana that is native to and cultivated in Mexico. However, burro bananas are a variation of another banana native to and brought from Southeast Asia. Burro bananas are also grown in the Caribbean and parts of South America. 

Burro banana trees can grow up to 20 feet tall. Like any produce-baring trees, burro banana trees require time before they start to produce fruit. Once the trees do begin producing fruit, they can continue to do so year-round. That means people can enjoy a regular supply of burro bananas rather than a short season.

They are also known as the donkey banana because burro, of course, translates to "donkey." The moniker was given because of their stubby, squat appearance. They are typically shorter and thicker than other bananas, with a slightly tapered shape. The skin of the banana is thick but pliable, with a greenish-yellow color that turns golden yellow as it ripens. The texture of the fruit is also firmer and denser than other bananas, which makes it ideal for use in cooking and baking.

What do burro bananas taste like?

The flesh of a burro banana is cream-colored with a firmer, denser texture than a regular banana. But the flavor of burro bananas might be surprising to some. This stubby variety of bananas has a slight tanginess that sets it apart from other types of bananas. The flavor is most similar to a slightly sweet lemon thanks to its mildly sour, tangy notes. 

It is worth noting that like other bananas, the darker the peel, the sweeter the burro bananas will taste. So, you can time when you use the fruit to make the most of their flavor profile. 

How to use burro bananas

Because these bananas are less sweet than other varieties and have a tangy flavor, burro bananas pair well with savory dishes. Additionally, their firm texture makes them ideal for use in cooking and baking, as they hold their shape well during the cooking process instead of turning too soft and mushy.

Burro bananas can be sliced and eaten as a healthy snack, or used to add flavor and texture to smoothies and other beverages. They can also be used to make banana bread, muffins, and other baked goods. More traditionally, burro bananas are commonly used in Latin American cuisine, where they are cooked in savory dishes such as stews and soups.

Apart from the fruit itself, burro banana blossoms are edible and enjoyed in many cuisines around the world. In Southeast Asia, the blossoms are particularly popular and are used in salads, curries, and stir-fries. The petals of the blossoms can be separated and used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, and salads. The inner core of the blossom can be used to make a vegetarian meat substitute.

Where to buy burro bananas

Burro bananas can be difficult to find in some parts of the world, but they can often be found in Latin American specialty food stores. In the United States, they are available in select supermarkets or international grocery stores. It is also possible to find fresh burro bananas at farmers' markets in areas warm enough to grow them. 

You can also turn to online retailers. Digital grocers such as Instacart can offer burro bananas (if they're available in the area). You can also order them from specialty website such as Melissa's Produce, Specialty Produce, or Fruit Hunters. These retailers are subject to availability too, though.

Nutrition of burro bananas

If you are able to find burro bananas, then enjoy them knowing that they are packed with vitamins and nutrients. These bananas are a great source of potassium, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Burro bananas are a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc too. 

Ultimately, burro bananas are higher in carbs and low in protein, but they remain a healthy fruit that can be a nutritious addition to most diets. One burro banana contains a total of 19 grams of carbohydrates and just 1 gram of protein.  They also contain good dietary fiber — around 4 grams — and no fat.