Bush banana (also known as wild banana) is a species of undomesticated banana classified under the Ensete genus.
Although not very common in North America, they’re quickly gaining popularity for their organic properties and natural appeal.
Since there are very few encounters with wild bananas among average American banana lovers, most people are curious about what these wild berries taste like.
So, for a quick answer, wild bananas can taste different depending on the specific variety. However, most of them have a sweet bananaey, creamy taste with a highlight of raspberry. They also have large, tasteless seeds, making them hard to chew.
This article looks at wild bananas in detail. Read on to learn whether they taste better than the modern cultivated species you are used to.
Do Wild Bananas Still Exist?
Wild bananas are indigenous to the tropical regions of Australia, India, and Southeast Asia. They were taken to South America and later Africa by the Portuguese.
Today, wild bananas still grow in the humid, tropical regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and South and Central America.
Modern cultivation technologies have also enabled wild banana cultivation in non-tropical regions like California.
What Do They Look Like?
Wild bananas (Musa acuminata) are stunning, especially to those who see them for the first time.
The plant’s leaves look similar to those of an ordinary banana, but they are thicker and broader with beautiful red ribbons.
As wild bananas mature, their leaves stretch outwards and upwards, unlike regular banana leaves, which stretch downwards towards the ground.
Many people also find it fascinating that wild bananas grow in solitary, unlike regular bananas, which always have “baby bananas” growing beside them. They also have a massive trunk with a calabash base but become slender further up.
Wild banana fruits can vary in appearance depending on the species. However, they are mostly short and thick. They’re green when unripe and can either be green or yellow with many large seeds when ripe.
Is It Ok to Eat Wild Bananas?
Some people are not sure whether it’s safe to eat wild bananas because of their numerous seeds. Fortunately, wild bananas are like regular bananas, which means they aren’t poisonous.
You can eat wild bananas, both ripe and unripe, without adverse health implications. In fact, some communities in Africa and Southeast Asia eat wild bananas as a staple food.
Read More On: Can You Eat Wild Bananas?
What Do They Taste Like?
Wild bananas might have different tastes depending on the exact species. For instance, a type of wild banana known as Musa balbisiana is sweet and creamy when ripe like a red banana.
It has fewer seeds, giving it a smoother taste and making it perfect for blending and making smoothies.
The seedy Musa acuminata is also sweet and creamy when ripe but has a hint of raspberry flavor. However, it tastes like a chalky and dry starch when it’s unripe.
How Do You Eat Wild Bananas?
Although wild bananas are sweet and creamy when ripe, most of them have a lot of seeds that make them hard to chew.
Most people in Asia and Africa slice them up and remove the seeds first before eating them. However, the seeds are not poisonous, so you can eat them if you like.
You can also cook unripe wild bananas by boiling, roasting, or deep-frying them. Deep-fried wild bananas are especially tasty and crunchy dry like French fries and pair perfectly with fried chicken.
What About Those Seeds?
Most wild banana varieties have seeds. In fact, all bananas have seeds; only that domestic bananas have little seeds that are almost hidden.
However, wild banana species like Musa acuminata have large seeds, sometimes as big as peas!
In most cases, wild bananas also have more seeds than commercial bananas, which makes eating them a challenge.
Are Wild Banana Seeds Edible?
In theory, yes! You may eat wild banana seeds, both ripe and unripe. They are not poisonous and have no adverse effects on human or animal health.
Nevertheless, it’s almost impossible to eat wild banana seeds. They are big and tough. For most people, trying to eat them will only end up hurting their teeth and gums.
What Do Wild Banana Seeds Taste Like?
If you decide to eat wild banana seeds, you can expect a somewhat bland taste, with a little highlight of bitterness.
However, the slight bitterness only surfaces if you crush the seeds with your teeth, an excruciating task.
Are Wild Banana Seeds Toxic?
Wild banana seeds are not toxic. They are safe to eat for both humans and pets. So you don’t have to separate them from the fruits.
That said, they are hard as a rock and have little nutritional value. It’s, therefore, better to slice a wild banana and remove the seeds and make it easier to chew.
Where Can You Get Wild Bananas?
While it would have been impossible to find wild bananas in North America 2 decades ago, they are quickly gaining popularity for their organic attributes.
You can get wild bananas in some retail stores but do some research first because they are more common in some seasons.
You can also search online since most stores that sell wild bananas advertise them. If not, they probably aren’t available in your area.