Perfect (Image: Alice Webb-Liddall)

In praise of bananas, the greatest fruit of them all

Bananas are unequivocally the best fruit in the world, and there’s nothing you can say to change my mind, writes Alice Webb-Liddall.

I was about 15 when I realised that halftime banana cake wasn’t a tradition outside of my family. On the day of an All Blacks game a banana cake would always be whipped up from a pile of blackened, squelchy, overripe bananas. 

The result, either in celebration of the halftime score, or for comfort in spite of it, was always delicious. Why? Because bananas are the best fruit.

Banana cake, banana smoothies, banana chips, banana pancakes, green bananas with coconut cream, bananas on toast, bananas with chocolate, banana real fruit ice cream, the list of delicious things to do with a banana is endless, and honestly, I think they deserve more from us.

When thinking of their favourite fruit, people commonly lean towards more exotic or limited-run seasonal fruit – like stone fruit, mangoes and passionfruit. Rarely do bananas even make the top three, and it’s about time we stopped taking them for granted.

They’re a unique case of a food that is useful at almost all stages of its life. Let an apple sit for a bit too long and you’re left with a brown mush that’s good only for fertilising a compost bin. Eat a grape a bit too early and your lips will be puckered for a week. 

As a nation of banana-lovers (a report from 2017 said New Zealanders consume 18kg of bananas per person each year), I still don’t think we’re appreciating them for what they are: a miracle.

Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe this guy, who is convinced the banana was made by God to fit the human hand. 

But even if bananas aren’t your cup of smoothie, and you don’t quite believe they were made to anger atheists, there are still so many reasons to love the ‘nana.

They can be used as a hair mask, a plant fertiliser, a natural silver and leather polish. They can even apparently help to get splinters out and whiten teeth, though the effectiveness of the latter two may not be proven. 

Green banana? Delicious. Yellow banana? Delicious. Brown banana? Delicious. As long as you’re buying fair trade and ethically grown, it’s the fruit that can’t falter.

But the versatility of the banana extends far past the myriad ways it can be eaten.

Banana phone. Banana gun. Banana penis. Slipping on a banana peel. Slicing a banana through its skin so when someone peels it, they get a funny surprise. 

Are you with me yet? 

Banana milkshakes, banana ice cream, banana smoothies, banana lollies, those banana costumes that were a hit at the Sevens a few years ago, Bananagrams, banana splits.

Tell me one fruit that’s more diverse. Gwen Stefani made a whole song about them. Bananas in Pyjamas. Bananarama. Going bananas. Banoffee pie. Banana powder. Banana republic. I don’t even know what that last one is. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock.

Whether you eat a banana from the top down, break it off in pieces or chomp it down sideways like a cob of corn, there’s no wrong way to enjoy the best fruit in the world.

The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.