The history of the Banana is as rich as the fruit is tasty – so prepare yourself for a fruity history lesson as we walk through the evolution of the banana.
If you picture a banana, the odds are you’re seeing a crescent shaped, yellow fruit – the kind you’re likely to see in shops and on markets across the world. If you went looking for a banana any different to that you’d be in for a challenge – why? Bananas are clones, they are all genetically identical, and can all be traced back to one great-great-great recurring, grandfather of modern bananas – these are known today as Cavendish bananas!
Yet if you showed a Cavendish banana to your average 1920’s consumer they’d ask you what was wrong with it! You see, for a long time, the bananas you’d find on grocery shelves were the Gros Michel variety, a thicker, less curvy fruit which became popular in the 1800’s. The Gros Michel was a banana with a softer and creamier texture, but unfortunately, these were decimated by a diseased named Race 1 which is why farmers turned to the Cavendish variety we know and love today.
So the Gros Michel is our past, the Cavendish is our present, but what about the future? Well, experts fear that a similar disease named Race 4 could endanger our beloved Cavendish. They’re working on a solution to this potential problem all the time, but it’s possible that in another 50 years we’ll see a brand new kind of banana – what we can be sure of, is that as long as it’s of the banana family, it will certainly remain delicious!