Saba Banana


A variety of bananas from the Philippines. The skin is green when ripe, indicating it can be eaten fresh. It can also be cooked.
Banana extract is used in making catsup, vinegar and wine.
Unripe fruit are often powdered or chipped.
The entire banana "tree" is edible, from its young leaves (used pounded in the suppression of bleeding and the treating of wounds), to older leaves which are used as packing material for other fruits and vegetables, or as wraps for cooking food. Banana fiber is for making rope, mats, and sacks. Paper and paper boards are made from banana peel. Banana flowers are exported whole and dried for use in special dishes.


Other names: Platano, Saging, Batag, Carbada
Translations: Σάμπα Μπανάνα, Saba bananų, سابا الموز, Saba Banán, サババナナ, 사바 바나나, Saba Banán, סבא בננה, Саба Банана, Saba Saging, सबा केले, Саба Банана, 萨巴香蕉, Саба Банана, Saba Pisang, Саба Банан

Physical Description

Saba are a large, angular banana that have a sweet, starchy flesh that is ideal for cooking. Also, the Saba does not have to be cooked, it can be eaten raw.
The nutritional value of a Saba banana is similar to a potato

Colors: green skinned, or green verging toward yellow, the meat is white.

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet, starchy
Mouthfeel: Firm, Starchy

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Choose saba that are still green, but verging toward yellow. The fruit should fill the peel and be firm. The more yellow the skin, the more limp the meat will be after cooking.
Buying: Saba bananas are available throughout the year, though they are considered at their best a few months after the monsoon season has begun.
Procuring: Bananas are native to Southeast Asia and are wildly abundant throughout that region. In truth, they're the fruit of humongous herb plants, and not trees.
Ideal soil for growing bananas at home is a rich, deep soil that holds moisture well. Plants should be watered frequently as they are native to areas that receive a large amount of rainfall yearly.
Saba bananas are generally harvested between 150 and 180 days after shooting. The standard ripeness index is the fullness of the fingers (how plump the fruit within seems).

Preparation and Use

Saba bananas, with their starchy flesh are equally suited to eating raw or cooked. There are various preparations including fried, or grilled with a coating of sugar then chipped (banana-q), and in turon (wrapped in lumpia and fried), wine, catsup, in chips, steamed, boiled, braised, etc.

Cleaning: Wash the skin of the banana thoroughly under cold water before peeling.

Conserving and Storing

Bananas are often pureed, frozen, candied, or dried when not eaten fresh.


In the Philippines the banana is an important crop with around 75% grown for export, and another 15% used as feed. The plants are so abundant that there are very few people who do not have at least one plant growing just outside their home.



Related Cooking Videos