why are bananas brown instead of yellow?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by anoop, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. anoop

    anoop

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    For the last several months, I have found that bananas in my grocery stores (two food co-ops that I shop at) have a brownish skin rather than being yellow (and getting spotted as they ripen).  These brown bananas just go more and more brown.  And they taste different too.

    I'm not talking about the browning/blacking that happens beginning with spots.  This is an even browning of the entire skin.

    Any idea what is going on?  Are these stores doing something wrong with respect to the ripening process?

    Thanks.
     
  2. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,399
    Likes Received:
    935
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Since you say that they taste different also, I am wondering if they are not buying a different type of banana.  There are hundreds of varieties of banana throughout the world, but there is only 1 really major player when it comes to world wide distribution, and that is the Cavendish banana.  In fact, it is really the only yellow, sweet banana (what Americans would consider to be a "real" banana") in the US and in many other countries. It could be one of those other varieties.
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,642
    Likes Received:
    557
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    The Cavendish is imperilled as well. There's a bit of a rush to find a replacement varietal.
     
  4. anoop

    anoop

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    It's the same variety I'm talking about. About 10% of them will be yellow, but I really have to look for them. One of the co-ops has recently started to stock Apple bananas, but those have the same problem as well. I'll try and post a picture to show what I mean.

    Why so?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  5. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,642
    Likes Received:
    557
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Cavendish banana are all clones so they don't evolve disease resistance. Paanama disease is wiping them out.
     
  6. anoop

    anoop

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    OK, I took a picture yesterday at the co-op where I shop.  

    If you look at the bananas in the foreground, they have a slight browning that I'm talking about.  The browning runs evenly all over the banana and you can see the fine lines along the skin.

    The bananas behind it do not have this problem.

    Any idea what causes this?

    Incidentally, a different food co-op in my area has started selling Apple bananas.  Those too have this browning problem.  I will try and take a picture the next time I am there.

     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
  7. chefwriter

    chefwriter

    Messages:
    1,863
    Likes Received:
    411
    Exp:
    Professional Cook
    You're viewing this as a problem when it is most likely just the natural ripening process. As has been pointed out, we have all gotten used to a certain type of banana. We have also gotten used to the way those particular bananas are handled before arriving on the supermarket shelves. 

    So now you have encountered something you are not used to but that doesn't mean it's wrong, just different. 

          I would speak to the produce manager with the view to being a better informed consumer, not looking to complain. I have no doubt you are not the first customer to inquire. You might even inspire him or her to post an informative sign with the bananas. 
     
  8. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

    Messages:
    1,128
    Likes Received:
    101
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I agree. 

    When i used to live in the states, i noticed some products are prefered by the majority and thus appear more on market shelves. 

    What the OP is probably noticing is a different variety of bananas on his markets shalves. Or the handling process of these bananas could be different. 

    Here in brazil most supermarkets have at least 3-4 different varieties of bananas. And there ripining process, size, and even taste can all differ. 

    In my mothers house we have banana trees. The name of the banana i don´t remember, they are huge, thick, have and internal orange/pinkish coloring, and taste completely different, really sweet and starchy. Not to be eaten acessively when uncooked. Theres also giant cavendish bananas.

    The varieties are many and each one has different traits!.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  9. anoop

    anoop

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I've spoken to the workers that stock the produce section and they didn't know why they looked that way.

    The bananas at my local Trader Joe's don't have this browning.

    I'll try and talk to the produce manager next time I'm in the store and see it.
     
  10. halb

    halb

    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    137
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Mentioned this to my wife who loves bananas. She said she knows exactly what you are talking about, they are sold here by Whole Foods as organic. She doesn't like the taste either.
     
  11. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,476
    Likes Received:
    417
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    Just tossing this out there ....
    The bananas were packed too tightly during shipping and the result was enuf pressure to bruise the skin but not the flesh.
    This tight pack also prevented any air flow causing the fruit to sour a bit thus the off taste.

    mimi
     
  12. millionsknives

    millionsknives

    Messages:
    2,500
    Likes Received:
    480
    Exp:
    Professional Caterer
    Does it matter if they are irradiated or not?
     
  13. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,476
    Likes Received:
    417
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    Excellent question .....
    Went floundering again last nite and on my way to a dark room with the ac set on Arctic so my search will have to wait until cocktail hour.
    I never miss cocktail hour lol.
    I am thinking something refreshing like appletinis or cape cods today.

    mimi
     
  14. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,476
    Likes Received:
    417
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    Or they are full of spider eggs....
    Maybe a few hundred thousand of those rain forest tarantulas that get as big as a dinner plate.
    :eek:

    m.
     
  15. rajika4ever

    rajika4ever

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    i am sure its different type of banana. here in my country we have few types which are brown call "nethra palam" and they are bigger in size
     
  16. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,476
    Likes Received:
    417
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    Welcome to Chef Talk, @rajika4ever
    Is your variety used as savory or sweet?

    mimi
     
  17. anoop

    anoop

    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Here's another picture with a different variety of banana next to the regular banana.

    The regular banana has yellowed with ripening and has a few brown spots.

    The apple banana is showing same browning that was present in my earlier pic of the regular bananas.

     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016