Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, iron, zinc, calcium, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and vitamins A and E. They also contain antioxidants such as quercetin, anthocyanins, and phenolic acids.
Have you ever put your bananas in the fridge only to discover them a brown mess a few days later? You’re not alone, since this appears to occur almost every time we expose bananas to the cold. But why is it the case? And, if so, what can you do about it?
The reason for banana discoloration has been debated by food scientists for years. Some say that exposure to light causes color change while others believe that oxidation occurs when bananas sit around too long. However, there’s no doubt that some kind of chemical reaction takes place during storage.
In fact, researchers have found that bananas exposed to air at room temperature will develop dark spots after just one day. This suggests that something happens to the fruit once it enters the refrigerator.
Bananas suffer from frostbite when they are refrigerated. To be more exact, it is the banana peels, not the meat, that are affected.
This is as a result of two factors:
- Ethylene is a natural growth hormone found in bananas.
- In addition, banana peels have a fragile cell structure.
Their peels are extremely delicate, as anybody who has ever doodled on a banana with a toothpick knows. When ethylene gas builds up inside these cells, it begins to break down their walls. As a result, the peel becomes soft and wrinkly.
What does all this mean for us? Well, it means that our best bet for keeping bananas fresh longer is to keep them out of direct sunlight or store them in the freezer. If you must store them in the fridge, make sure to wrap them well in plastic bags first. When cell membranes deteriorate, ethylene speeds up the process, making them a darker color and eventually black.
This means that any injury to the banana will cause it to ripen too rapidly in that area. As a result, when you refrigerate a ripe banana, the cells in the peels begin to break down. They don’t ripen because they can’t stand the cold; instead, they break down their structure.
While most people would agree that eating the skinless part of a banana isn’t ideal, it doesn’t necessarily cause any harm. It may even help prevent certain diseases like diabetes.
However, it should be noted that the darker the banana gets, the less nutritious it tends to become. So, don’t worry about getting rid of those brown patches before enjoying your next snack! The flesh should still be edible if the skins are removed. The bananas should be fine if you didn’t keep them in the fridge for more than a week and they weren’t overripe. However, if you see that the meat has become brown, you should toss it as well.
If you want to get back to the original yellowish-green hue of your bananas, then you’ll need to throw them away. There’s nothing you can do to stop the process once it starts.
As mentioned above, ethylene plays a role here. Once the banana goes into the fridge, its cells start breaking down due to the presence of this compound. Ethylene levels rise over time until the banana turns completely black. And I strongly advise against storing ripe, peeled bananas in the refrigerator. Even though the exterior layer is fragile and feeble, it will protect the bananas far better than anything else. Due to ethylene and oxidation, a peeled banana in the fridge would become black much faster.
The same thing applies to other fruits such as apples, pears, plums, etc., which also turn brown when stored in the fridge. These fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C, but they’re prone to bruising.
When bruised, the contents leak out onto the surface where bacteria thrive. Over time, this leads to mold formation. Moldy foods aren’t safe to consume, so you shouldn’t try to salvage them by storing them in the fridge. Instead, discard them immediately.
Bananas are quite sensitive, as we’ve just seen. This implies you should be careful where and how you place your bananas when you get them home. If you purchased a large hand with 7-8 fingers, keep in mind that the ones on the bottom will be the ones to receive the most injuries. All of the weight is concentrated on them, and if you strike them on a corner, you’ll notice that the area becomes dark and squishy.
Ethylene gas is produced during the fruit ripening process. When bananas go through this stage, they release an abundance of it. That’s why they tend to spoil quickly after being harvested. You might have noticed that bananas lose some of their freshness within days or weeks.
But what causes this rapid deterioration? Well, it all comes from the fact that bananas produce lots of ethylene. In order to understand this phenomenon, let’s take a look at the anatomy of a banana: You may recognize these parts as the peel, pulp, and seeds. Now, imagine that each one produces ethylene independently. As soon as the outer layers begin to break down, the inner sections follow suit. It doesn’t matter whether the banana was refrigerated or not; both banana peel and pulps will eventually rot.
This means that even if you store your bananas properly, there’s always going to be a chance that they could develop unsightly spots. But don’t fret too much because you can prevent this problem entirely. Just make sure that you remove any damaged areas right away. Otherwise, the rotting process will continue unabated.
In conclusion, bananas do indeed suffer from premature aging once placed in the fridge. However, this isn’t something that happens overnight. Rather, it takes several months for the damage to manifest itself.
So, if you want to avoid this issue altogether, then simply leave your bananas outside instead of placing them inside the fridge. I hope this post helped you with your food curiosities.