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Why won't my bananas ripen?

greedygirl Jun 9, 2008 08:38 AM

I loathe overly ripe bananas so I always buy them slightly green. Usually they're fine once they've been in the fruit bowl for a couple of days but I've had my current bunch for almost a week and they're still hard as a rock and frankly, vile. I've just thrown one away after finding it was almost crisp in texture, with none of the lovely banana flavour.

I'm assuming that they're never going to ripen now. I've never had this before - any thoughts?

  1. r
    RicRios Jun 9, 2008 06:26 PM

    Eric in NJ and caviar_and_chitlins above are absolutely right, most probable culprit is the ehylene gas chamber!
    And note ehtylene is applied to ALL bananas, irrespective of their conventional / organic / fair trade labeling.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RicRios
      greedygirl Jun 10, 2008 12:31 PM

      Is that because they're always picked unripe, then shipped? That would explain why the teeny weeny yet fresh bananas I had in Vietnam were so delicious?

      1. re: greedygirl
        r
        RicRios Jun 10, 2008 03:31 PM

        Absolutely! Picked green, when flavors haven't been allow to develop.
        Then artificially ripened, you get beautifully looking cardboard.

        OTOH, nothing beats a ripe banana just plucked from the tree. Funny, because tourists always frown at the sight of those little unseemly creatures, their looks far from Chiquita perfection. But the real thing, though...

    2. c
      caviar_and_chitlins Jun 9, 2008 05:57 PM

      Yep, it's ethylene gas, but it's also because fruits, once picked, will never truly ripen. Yes, they will change color, but they won't really ripen, just age. Yours were picked far too early even for that.

      Just as a bit of info, There's a really fascinating history of bananas in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Bananas-United-...

      1. fromagina Jun 9, 2008 05:34 PM

        The apple-in-a-bag advice is very good.. works for me. Sometimes I do that with green platanos (plantains) to ripen them to get a more intense "banana" flavor. I ripen my avocados in a bag with a bruised apple too.

        1. ipsedixit Jun 9, 2008 04:06 PM

          Probably mishandled (e.g. frozen) during transport.

          1. Eric in NJ Jun 9, 2008 03:19 PM

            I used to work in produce warehouse for A&P. We had banana rooms where the bananas would be stored and gassed with ethylene to a certain point of ripeness (light green) before being sent to the store. There are times where the gass is blocked from getting into the boxes and they don't get gassed. If you were to take them and put them in a paper bag with an apple or two they would ripen in a few days as apples give off ethylene gas

            1 Reply
            1. re: Eric in NJ
              greedygirl Jun 10, 2008 12:30 PM

              That's interesting. Unfortunately, I don't have any apples (they're out of season, so I don't buy them).

            2. c
              Claudette Jun 9, 2008 02:45 PM

              That happened to me last week, and occasionally at other times as well. It's a mystery...

              1. t
                Ted in Central NJ Jun 9, 2008 09:27 AM

                While I can't give you a technical explanation for this phenomenon, I can tell you that I have observed it. While working as a produce clerk for a Shop-Rite supermarket (about 43 years ago!!), we once got a shipment of bananas that was just like what you described.

                After a few customers returned what they had bought, it became obvious that those bananas were pretty similar in consistency to wood, even after a few weeks. Most of the customers did not bring their bananas back, but the few who did were given a refund.

                Trust me--you are not the only customer who got bad bananas from the market where you bought them. Bring back the remainder for a refund.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ted in Central NJ
                  greedygirl Jun 9, 2008 12:08 PM

                  If I can be bothered, I will. They're happy, organic, fairtrade bananas as well. :-(

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