Bananas are one of the known fruits in all parts of the world. Within 2015, there are around 18 million tons of bananas exported in different capitals and regions. Half of the entire banana exports are coming from the United States and Europe. In America, each person consumes 11.4 pounds of banana per year—making it the favorite fresh fruit in the USA. Aside from its tasty flavor, this curvy fruit provides a wide variety of health benefits.
Bananas can provide a great source of potassium, fiber, and pectin. Other micronutrients infused on this tropical fruit are magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. When consumed regularly, bananas can reduce your body’s swelling and protect you from developing type 2 diabetes. Bananas can also aid your weight loss journey, improve your nervous system, and help with white blood cell production.
Eating bananas also provides antioxidants that can protect your body from free radicals from the sunlight and skin products applied to your skin. While bananas offer all of these fantastic benefits, the only downturn of this wonder fruit is the moment when it starts blackening as soon as it reached its peak ripe stage.
Why Are My Bananas Turning Black?
The apparent reason bananas turn black quickly is due to the changes in temperature and a chemical reaction happening on the skin of the banana. While it can give a somewhat undesirable look to your bananas, you can still eat these bunch of bananas. Overripe bananas are also an ideal material for unique dishes like banana pancakes and banana loaf.
The first reason why bananas ripen quickly is due to the temperature of the storage area. If the temperature reaches below 57°F (14°C), it will react to the banana’s surface quickly enough to ripen the fruit. Submerging bananas to high temperatures can also transform their peel to a dark brown-black color within days. Keeping your bananas in the fridge will hinder the quick ripening process of the fruit.
While cooling your bananas can make them last longer, it will not hinder the inevitable blackening of their skin. Blackening of the banana’s skin is natural, and it will not affect the banana’s flavor. However, when the bananas reach their peak ripe stage, the banana itself will become soggy and mushy. This is also the stage wherein it is easier to mash and mix with other ingredients (like flour and sugar) without creating too many lumps.
The second reason bananas turn black is the polyphenol oxidase that is naturally found on the banana skin. This enzyme is non-toxic, although it creates a reaction when it is mixed with oxygen. This reaction is somewhat similar when water and iron react in the air. The first one produces a black peel, while the other creates rust.
That doesn’t mean that the fruit and peel of banana are already inedible. The polyphenol oxidase only affects the outer appearance of the fruit. This blackening will appear in patches of black on the banana’s yellow skin before it finally covers the entire banana’s surface.
Why Do Bananas Go Black in Fridge?
After a long time, bananas will turn black inside the fridge. At its current state, it looks unappealing and could be discarded by young, picky eaters. While the banana’s change of color will not affect its overall nutritional value and flavor, seeing a blackened banana skin will push away several people.
As soon as the bananas began their ripe stage, they will emit ethylene gas—a natural ripening agent. Ethylene gas is a form of hydrocarbon gas that comes out naturally on fruits. This gas is the main component of the fruit’s ripening process. Another reason why ethylene gas is expelled on the fruit’s body is when scars and bumps are produced due to the mishandling of the fruit’s supplier.
If your banana fruit has bumps and dents on its skin, there is a higher chance of ethylene gas expelling outside its body. The release of ethylene is reacting with the other gases found in the air (carbon dioxide and oxygen), which alters the appearance of the fruit. That is why bananas with dents have a higher chance of blackening further than those that are firm and polished.
The blackening of the banana’s skin will also affect the interior fruit. It will react faster, producing an overripe fruit. Overripe bananas are still edible, but they will have noticeable changes in their structure. The fruit itself will be more mushy than usual, which can be unlikable to some banana eaters.
These bananas, however, are still edible. It doesn’t alter the fruit’s nutritional value. Overripe bananas can be turned into mush which can be mixed on other dishes like pancakes, cupcakes, and loaf. You can also transform these bananas into tasty jam and marmalade—saving a lot from your pocket.
Is It OK to Eat Bananas That Are Black?
Bananas with blackened skin are due to the chemical reaction happening on its skin. The gas found on the banana skin reacts with the environment, which produces darker fruits than usual. Placing bananas inside the fridge may slow down this natural process, but it will still turn black as soon as possible.
If your bananas are dented or have scars on their skin, there is a higher chance of starting blackening faster. Ethylene gas found on fruits is released more quickly once it has dents. This causes other air to mix within the surface of the fruit, affecting its appearance. This chemical reaction is also similar when apple fruits are left outside for an extended period.
Oxidation in fruits is a natural process, and it can speed up the fruit’s ripening process. For fruits that are already ripe, this will cause massive changes in their skin and texture. In the case of bananas—the blackening of the banana peel will also affect the fruit. However, this doesn’t mean that the banana is not already edible. Listed below are some methods that you can use to prolong the fruit’s life:
- As soon as the banana peels turned all black, separate the peel from the fruit. Discard the blackened peel and store it inside a tight-sealed container.
- If the fruit is already soft to touch, you may grab a fork or a masher and began mushing the fruit. Banana mash can be combined with other dishes like muffins, hotcakes, waffles, and food preserves.