The world's favourite fruit is facing extinction

A fungus targeting the single variety of banana produced en masse around the globe means this vital smoothie ingredient's days may be numbered.
do diet, health, food IStockphoto

The lime was taken hostage in 2014, then we worried about running out of chocolate, hazelnut shortages gave us another scare on top of the ongoing California drought that's affecting avocado and almond production — and now we can add bananas to the list of things we’re worrying about. There's no denying it — the world’s most popular fruit is in trouble.

A study released in mid-November confirms that banana producers around the world are staring down alarming forecasts of extinction, due to a crop-destroying fungus making its way through banana plantations in Indonesia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East. A variant on the Panama disease, a slow-moving but unrelenting fungus that ravaged the banana industry in the 1950s, it has evolved to pose a significant threat to today’s most commonly produced variety, the Cavendish banana.

Today’s bananas are genetically identical copies of one another — a clone variety — making them particularly vulnerable to disease outbreaks. The resistance that made them the banana we know and love for the last 60 years or so has resulted in a monoculture practice that now endangers the fruit’s survival.

According to the study, the Cavendish doesn’t have adequate resistance levels to make it through this outbreak unscathed. The future of the banana appears to standing on a precarious edge, until new, resistant cultivars can be developed and produced. (Hopefully more than one this time.)

While we’re hopeful that the banana won’t disappear forever, it certainly looks like we’ll be seeing less of the one we’re most familiar with. I don’t know about you, but I’m making banana bread tonight.

Here are eight banana recipes that celebrate the Cavendish banana:

Banana-caramel cream pie

Creamy, with hits of caramel and crunchy chocolate toffee, this over-the-top pie is nothing short of spectacular. Get the recipe.

Photo, Roberto Caruso.

banana cream pie with cookie toppingBanana-caramel cream pie

Instant tropical banana and mango sorbet

Transport yourself to an island paradise with our low-fat instant sorbet recipe. Made with frozen mango and bananas, it’s ready in just 5 minutes. Get the recipe.

Photo, Sian Richards.

Instant tropical banana and mango sorbetTropical banana and mango sorbet

Banana bonbons

Customize these easy grab-and-eat frozen treats with your favourite nut-and-dried-fruit combos. Get the recipe.

Photo, Roberto Caruso.

The world's favourite fruit is facing extinctionBanana bonbons

Banana chocolate chip ice cream

With just four ingredients (and no cream!) you can whip up this healthier cheater's ice cream for dessert, and no one will be the wiser. Get the recipe

Photo, Roberto Caruso.

The world's favourite fruit is facing extinctionBanana chocolate-chip ice cream

Campfire bananas

Grilled bananas and chocolate give your usual ice cream sundae a special upgrade. Get the recipe

When blessed with a gorgeous day this time of year, you'll want to cook everything on the barbie. Satisfy everyone's summer sweet tooth with Campfire Bananas.Campfire bananas

Banoffee tarts

A delicious, 15-minute dessert with a hint of Kahlua and topped with chocolate shavings. Get the recipe

Photo, Ryan Szulc.

Banoffee tarts recipeBanoffee tarts

Caramel and banana hand pies

These indulgent hand pies take a star combo (who doesn't love bananas with caramel?) and turns them into a perfect pastry dessert. Get the recipe.

Photo, Sian Richards.

The world's favourite fruit is facing extinctionBanana-caramel hand pies

Chocolate walnut banana bread

Our revamped recipe has everything you love about banana bread – and it turns out whole-wheat flour, flax seeds (and rum) make the original taste even better. Get the recipe

Photo, Michael Alberstat.

Chocolate-walnut banana breadChocolate-walnut banana bread


Subscribe to our newsletters for our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.