The Red banana variety (Musa acuminata Red Dacca) found on the island of Mauritius has ivory or custard-hued, semi-soft flesh surrounded by a thick, brick red to maroon-colored peel. The flesh has a dry and chalky, starchy consistency when young, and the taste is sweet, with a hint of vanilla. Although it can be eaten fresh, it is also prized as a baking variety, used in both desserts and semi-savory dishes. Red bananas can also be made in to jams, or in making tarts or cakes. One savory preparation includes cooking them in green curry.
The Red banana is cultivated like other bananas, except that it should be planted deeper. Mature trees are cut in half to create suckers that allow another tree to grow. Bananas are harvested year-round, every three to four months. Trees generally produce a larger first than the second crop. The Red bananas are larger than the local Dwarf or Zinzli bananas and twice as heavy. Compared to other varieties, the Red banana has more beta-carotene and vitamin C.
It is believe that bananas were introduced to Mauritius from China in 1826, and the wild ancestors of the Red banana can be traced back to Southeast Asia. This variety flourishes in the local sub-tropical climate. It can mainly be found in the Chamarel area, in the southwestern part of the island. While the exact quantity produced annually is not documented, it has been observed that production of this variety is in decline as compared to the past. Many farmers are no longer motivated to cultivate this particular variety, and the fragile banana trees do not have protection against strong, damaging winds.