Did you know that the average human consumes over 25 pounds of bananas a year?
Bananas are a healthy and delicious treat that we must peel to eat. But, did you ever wonder why they are classified as a fruit? Bananas are classified as a fruit because they have seeds of the plant that they grow from. You may have never associated seeds with a banana, but they do in fact have them!
The seeds in bananas are not very big and appear to be almost hidden. This wasn’t always the case. Humans have greatly impacted the breeding of bananas and as a result, have contributed to their “new” appearance and taste.
Do bananas have seeds? Yes, bananas do have seeds. However, today’s modern commercial bananas are genetically bred and actually not grown from seeds. The seeds can be seen but are not able to contribute to bananas being reproduced. Wild bananas would have more visible larger seeds and could assist with the growth of a new banana plant, if its produced by the mother plant.
Why Commercial Bananas Don’t Have Seeds
Even though bananas have seeds, the genetic modification process conducted by humans has created a fruit that has made seeds almost an afterthought. These bananas will almost never have any large seeds in them. Why?
After discovering mutations where plants were unable to grow seeds, farmers took the cuttings from those plants to realize that seeds weren’t needed to farm bananas. Commercially grown bananas have been cultivated specifically for consumption, which makes sense why seeds would want to be avoided.
The science behind seedless bananas has to do with their chromosomal imbalance. The modern-day banana is triploid, also known as having three sets of chromosomes. Rather than having a single set of chromosomes from each parent, the banana receives one set of chromosomes from one parent plant and two sets of chromosomes from the other parent plant.
Bananas are asexually propagated. Known as a process called parthenocarpy, the development of bananas without fertilization creates a fruit that lacks seeds.
There are also many benefits to “seedless” bananas as a result. Commercial bananas, the ones you purchase from your local grocery store, are more flavorful and sweet. Also, no seeds or small seeds allows for easier consumption and a better experience with humans. This discovery has lead to bananas having a longer shelf & post-shelf life.
While you can still be able to see some seeds when cutting down the middle of a commercial banana, their function is pretty much obsolete. At this point in a banana’s lifecycle, its primary purpose is to look aesthetically pleasing for human consumption and not to reproduce.
Do Wild Bananas Have Any Seeds?
It is not easy to locate wild bananas that are edible. They can usually be found in remote areas of the world, like jungles or valleys. If you do happen to locate a wild banana plant, you will marvel its beauty. Wild banana plants have thicker leaves that stretch upwards in uniform. Also. the trunk of the plant is built stronger and thicker compared to a commercial banana plant.
Yes, wild bananas are considered a fruit and do have seeds. Compared to commercial bananas, these bananas have larger seeds and can look quite different versus the normal bananas that we purchase and consume from the store.
They have bigger seeds which may not be as appetizing compared to the every day bananas that we are all used to. In some cases, these bananas have more seeds, than edible banana!
As seen in the picture below, wild bananas with seeds as large as peas!
However, these wild banana plants are really important because they can reproduce from their mother banana plant. In other words, these banana seeds can be used to grow and reproduce.
These bananas are typically found near forest regions around the world. Given the natural habitat of some of these regions, they tend to grow in obscure shapes and sizes. Also, the peel of these bananas don’t have the same glow that we are all typically used to.
Can You Eat Banana Seeds?
For the unlikely situation that you stumble upon a banana with seeds, you may be curious if the seeds are safe to digest. Yes, you can eat the banana seeds. Bananas seeds, both ripe or unripe, are not poisonous. However, wild bananas are considered almost inedible when they produce a myriad of hard pea-sized seeds. While they may still be safe to eat, it is almost impossible and not worth it.
Wild bananas with large seeds are usually smaller and most likely have more seeds than edible flesh. Bananas with seeds are commonly considered inedible because they are just so hard to chew and swallow!
The other problem with consuming bananas with seeds is that fact that the seeds take up too much space inside the banana, which can make it difficult to eat the flesh or pulp.
Can You Eat Wild Bananas?
Yes, you can eat wild bananas. Depending on the variety and location of the wild bananas, some can be quite delicious to eat and have almost no seeds at all.
The common misconception is that all wild bananas have seeds – that is just not true.
A popular variety of wild bananas can be found in Costa Rica, where they are considered “baby bananas”. These bananas ripen quick and taste absolutely delicious! Even as a child, I had no second thoughts when snacking on these wonderful treats from the wild.
Baby bananas, also known as “Lady Fingers”, are much more creamier and sweeter than typical bananas. Majority of the time when you see baby bananas, you’ll notice the luminous yellow color. Smaller dots or freckles is a sign that the baby bananas are ripe and ready to eat.
However, sometimes the variety can be edible but you should still not eat the banana if the plant has been exposed to pesticides, birds or insects. It is not worth the risk to potentially consume harmful bacteria from an unknown plant. Testing a few of the bananas towards the top of the plant is recommend before considering to consume.
Seeds in bananas are usually not noticeable when consuming the fruit. However, storing bananas in the refrigerator may have a negative impact on their overall quality.
Modern, commercially farmed bananas have been genetically bred to prevent seed growth.
- Commercial bananas are the most common banana that we consume and is usually the only option available at a local grocery store.
- Wild bananas do have seeds and if produced from the mother plant, the seeds can lead to reproduction.
- Banana seeds can be eaten, especially considering the small seeds found in commercial bananas. Wild bananas have larger seeds and are not worth consuming.
Just because seeds are found in wild bananas does not mean all wild bananas have seeds. Depending on the variety and origin can go a long way in determining if that type of banana can be consumed by humans.