CityGreens Consumer Awareness Initative. How to check for artificial ripening in Banana

Have you ever experienced this? You bought green bananas from the supermarket, and they turned bright yellow after a few hours. And later within a day; black blotches appeared on the banana peel. This is an indication of chemical ripening. Read further to understand more about artificial ripening in bananas!

How to identify artificially ripened bananas?

To identify if a banana fruit is artificially ripened, look for the following signs.

Appearance
Naturally ripened bananas have black or brown stalk. The skin of it appears dark yellow with black and brown spots spread unevenly all over. Artificially ripened bananas on the other hand, appear immaculate with lemon yellow skin. They also have a green stalk.

Touch & Feel
For artificially ripened bananas, Some parts of the fruit will be very soft while others would be hard. This is because some parts come in contact with chemicals while others may not.

Why do vendors artificially ripen bananas?

Transportation
Bananas have to survive the transit time, from source of production to the destination market. This may take 2-3 days. At the marketplace, they are then ripened using chemicals.

Long-term availability
Unripe bananas are stored for a few days in the complete absence of ethylene to slow down ripening process. Then to ensure long term supply much after its season, they are chemically ripened.

Chemicals used for artificial ripening

Calcium Carbide
When Calcium Carbide comes in contact with moisture present in fruits, it releases acetylene gas. This gas is similar to ethylene gas produced by naturally ripening fruits. It triggers fast ripening of bananas. Ripening using this process is not usually harmful. However, it is the traces of toxic arsenic and phosphorous left behind on fruits by this chemical that is harmful to human health. The symptoms of arsenic or phosphorous poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, burning sensation of chest and abdomen, weakness, irritation skin, ulcers on the skin, sore throat, cough and shortness of breath.

Ethephon one
It also releases ethylene gas to trick fruits into ripening fast. It is not very harmful unless used in large amounts.

Ethylene gas
Although ethylene is produced by fruits for natural ripening, its artificial use may make the fruit lack flavor. It, however, does not lack nutritional value. Also, excess use of ethylene gas on fruits is an unhealthy practice.

Best practices while shopping for banana

1. Always inspect the stem, if it is green in color while the fruit is yellow it’s a sure shot sign of artificially ripened fruit.

2. Look for unevenly spread brown spots on the banana peel. This is a sign of naturally ripened fruit.

Stay Safe!

Gaurav is an entrepreneur whose first Start-up was focused on providing services to patients suffering from Chronic Diseases. While researching about the causes of lifestyle diseases and the ways to reduce their incidence, he chanced upon the idea of growing healthy and nutritious food using advanced farming techniques.

He founded CityGreens with a mission to enable City Dwellers to access Safe, Healthy and Fresh food.

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