Can You Eat Green Bananas?

Can you eat green bananas? Yes—and the flavor may surprise you!

Finding the perfect banana is a bit like finding the perfect avocado. Too ripe? No one wants that mushy mess. And if it’s not ripe enough, you can’t use it. Or can you eat green bananas?

To help the fruit last longer, bananas are picked and brought to the store when they’re green. Then most of us bring home those unripe bananas and need to figure out how to ripen bananas quickly! But the green ones are safe to eat, too.

Green vs. Yellow Bananas: What’s the Difference?

Green bananas tend to be less sweet than yellow bananas and have a slightly bitter flavor. Their texture is firmer and waxy.

In addition to the differences you can see and taste, the composition of green bananas is different, too. Green bananas are higher in starches, and about 70 to 80% of a green banana is made up of starch. Much of the starch in green bananas is resistant starch. This type of starch can’t be digested and is rich in fiber.

As bananas ripen, this starch converts to sugars. A ripe banana is made up of only 1% starch. That’s why banana desserts are so tasty!

Are Green Bananas Good for You?

Yes, green bananas are good for you, in moderation. Because they’re rich in fiber, adding green bananas to your diet can help you to feel full from your meal and cut down on extra snacking.

Most of us leave green bananas on the counter until they’ve ripened to a nice yellow color. However, we may be missing out on some important nutrients and interesting flavors.

Green bananas may be good for your digestive health. The body does not digest resistant starch. Instead, resistant starch has a prebiotic effect on the digestive system and helps to feed the good bacteria in the gut.

Green bananas may also help with blood sugar control. Green bananas contain pectin and resistant starch; both of these substances have been found to reduce blood sugar levels after meals. This is especially important for those with type 2 diabetes.

They may even give you shinier hair!

Green bananas are good for the planet too. If bananas are picked when they’re green, they can be shipped with lower-energy methods, such as on a boat instead of a plane. Bananas don’t require plastic packaging, because the tough green peel is thick enough to protect them in transit.

If you’d like to try adding green bananas to your diet, do it slowly. Because they are so high in fiber, eating green bananas can lead to bloating and gas.

How to Eat Green Bananas

Once you’re ready to try some green banana dishes, don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavors.

Raw, unripe bananas tend to be bitter and tough—not exactly appetizing. To cook green bananas, think about your favorite ways to cook potatoes. Green bananas can take on a savory flavor when cooked and seasoned. They also have a texture similar to potatoes once cooked.

An easy way to start cooking with green bananas is to fry them. Pour a little olive oil into a pan and place it over medium heat. Fried bananas are soft on the inside and have delightful crispiness on the outside.

The banana experts at Chiquita recommend using green bananas in your favorite Caribbean and Thai recipes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.