Bananas are one of the nation’s favorite fruits. Packed full of antioxidants, fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and phytonutrients, bananas offer a wide array of health benefits. Bananas have been proven to have a positive impact on gut health and heart health.
This quick guide will answer some commonly asked questions about bananas, including why bananas split down the middle, how to stop bananas from splitting, and how long it takes for bananas to go bad after peeling. Let’s dig in.
Why Are My Bananas Splitting?
The most common reason why bananas split on the bunch is a combination of heat and humidity. When humidity levels exceed 90% and temperatures rise above 70 F (21 C), bananas tend to split.
Bananas should be cut from the tree when they are still green. This speeds up the ripening process. If bananas are left on the banana tree for too long, they will overripen. This causes the skin to crack and the fruit to dry out. To prevent your bananas from splitting on the bunch, it’s best to pick them while they’re dark green and extremely firm.
If you buy your bananas from the supermarket and the skin is splitting, this is most likely because of the temperature the fruit was stored at while it ripened. Bananas should be kept at 68 degrees Fahrenheit as they ripen. When bananas are exposed to temperatures higher than this, it causes the fruit to ripen quicker. This exposure to heat also causes the banana peel to weaken, leading to the skin splitting.
Are Bananas with Split Skins Safe to Eat?
You may be wondering if it’s safe to eat a banana if the peel has split. The short answer is yes, provided that the fruit is dry and there are no bugs or dirt on it.
Generally speaking, bananas with a split skin are nice and ripe and perfectly safe to eat. However, it’s important to inspect the banana carefully before you eat it. If the fruit has been exposed to bacteria, it could cause you harm.
If you see signs of mushy flesh, dust and dirt, or insects, such as fruit flies, then it’s best not to eat it. When in doubt, simply cut off the exposed part of the fruit and eat the rest of the banana as normal.
How Do You Keep Bananas from Splitting?
Bananas split when they have been exposed to high levels of humidity and heat. While this is usually a result of how they were held and stored during the ripening process, there are a few hacks you can use to keep bananas from splitting and keep them fresher for longer. Let’s take a look.
- Store bananas in a cool place. When stored in warm temperatures, bananas will ripen too quickly and the skin will split. On the other hand, when bananas are kept in temperatures that are too cold, they may not ripen at all
- Store bananas separately from other fruit and vegetables.
- Try wrapping the stems of the bananas in cling film to prevent the ethylene gas (naturally produced by bananas) from spreading to the rest of the fruit. Ethylene gas causes bananas to ripen too quickly. To keep your bananas fresher for longer, split the bunch into single bananas and wrap the stem of each banana in cling film.
By slowing down the ripening process and avoiding exposure to heat, humidity, or oxygen, you can prevent bananas from splitting and help them stay fresh longer.
Do Bananas Go Bad After Peeling?
Yes, bananas go bad shortly after being peeled. Once a banana is peeled, the oxygen will turn it brown and cause it to soften. Depending on the humidity and heat that it’s stored in, a peeled banana can last anywhere from a couple of hours to overnight.
It’s not recommended to keep a peeled banana any longer than this as there is a risk of bacteria or insects contaminating the fruit.
So, how can you tell if a banana has gone bad? Look out for these telltale signs.
- Texture - If the banana feels very soft to touch, it’s likely that it’s bad
- Mold or liquid - When a banana has mold growing on the skin or there’s liquid under the peel, the banana has gone off
- Colour - Brown or even black banana peel doesn’t necessarily mean the banana has gone off. However, if when you peel the banana the flesh is brown or mushy, then the banana has gone bad and shouldn’t be eaten
- Smell - Bananas that have a musty smell aren’t safe to eat
- Fruit flies – These bugs are a sure-fire sign that your bananas are rotten and no longer safe to consume
How To Store a Cut Banana
If you only plan to eat half of a banana now and keep the rest for later, the trick is to cut the banana before peeling it. The skin of the banana protects it from oxygen exposure which makes it turn brown. To keep it fresh, follow the steps below:
- Cut the unpeeled banana with a sharp knife
- Take the cut end of the banana (where the fruit is exposed) and dip it in acidic liquid such as fruit juice (for example, lime, grapefruit, or lemon juice)
- Cover the exposed end of the banana with cling film or aluminium foil to prevent exposure to oxygen
- Store the half banana in a cool place or in the refrigerator
- If the banana is already ripe, it will keep for 1-2 days at room temperature or 3-4 days refrigerated
- Storing the banana in an airtight container will stop oxygen from getting to the fruit and extend its shelf life
Bananas are a healthy fruit packed full of powerful antioxidants and healing properties. For maximum health benefits and to avoid illness, it’s important to store bananas correctly.
The best way to store unripened bananas is in a cool, dry place such as a pantry. Once they’re ripe and you plan to eat them within a day or two, you can store them at room temperature. If you want to preserve ripe bananas for longer, keeping them in the refrigerator can slow down the ripening process.