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Mar 29, 2005 03:16 PM

Do some bananas just never get ripe?

  • c

I received some very green bananas in my Boston Organics box (a delivery services that provides organic produce). It's been two weeks, and the bananas are still very green. Are they simply never going to ripen? Should I throw them away?

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  1. organic banana don't get that bright yellow color... smell them.. and test for softness. chances
    are you have some really ripe bananas on your hands already.

    1 Reply
    1. re: megan

      Hard as a rock. And no scent.

    2. I've noticed this with organic bananas. They never seem to turn yellow. They just stay mostly green.

      All bananas are picked green and then chemically treated in order to start the ripening process. I'm guessing that U.S. organic standards require the use of ripening methods that differ (and are apparently less effective) than what commercial producers can use. The article below talks about how it works for Europe. Anyone know the details of how this works in the U.S.?

      Anyway, you can try to ripen them by putting them in containers with ethylene producing foods like onions or apples.


      7 Replies
      1. re: nja

        My understanding is that ethylene is allowed for fruit ripening on a case by case basis for certified organic fruit. On a cursory glance, the documentation seems to say that it is allowed for "allowed for postharvest ripening of tropical fruit and degreening of citrus". I am pretty sure, for instance, that it is not allowed for avocados.

        1. re: nja

          I can't believe I am responding to a banana question (I never eat them!) but it may not be necessary to put them with apples or onions. Try introducing just one ripe banana into the bunch. A friend was just telling me this weekend that after having a bunch stay green for three weeks, they all turned ripe overnight when she did this...I don't think hers were organic, (she bought them at Costco on the Big Island of Hawaii, where she has lived pretty much her whole life, and of course the irony of a Hawaiian local buying bananas at Costco and not knowing this trick till she found out by accident was the reason she related the story in the first place)....but in any case, if the problem is partially in the ripening process not being as effective for the organic ones, this just might kick start it....

          1. re: susancinsf

            I'll try this. I do have an apple in the bag with them, but I'll buy a ripe banana tonight. Thanks! (I'll report back).

            1. re: curiousbaker

              Did putting one ripe banana in the bunch of green bananas work? I have some that have been green for 2 weeks (organic). They are in a bag with an apple and nothing has happened after a week of that. Still hard as rock.

              1. re: curiousbaker

                Are you sure you didn't buy the display bannas "Plastic"? UUUMMMM?

                1. re: smartestmanonearth

                  Better question - this thread is NINE years old. Are the bananas ripe yet?

              2. re: susancinsf

                This was explained in the article I linked. As a banana ripens, it produces ethylene gas, which ripens the banana, which produces gas, and on and on.

            2. They could be platanos, which need cooking.

              2 Replies
              1. The ones I buy at the store always ripen but the ones I get from the banana trees in my yard will turn yellow but never get very soft.

                1. Umm... four year old inquiry here, folks. And yes, very rarely I get a bunch of bananas (NOT plantains) that just never ripen. I'm not sure why, but it happens. Considerably less than 1% of the time, though.