Banana stems

Back in the day a feller could snap the stem of a banana clean and easy and peel it like nothing doing. Nowadays the stems just bend back and forth and you just mash the top all up before you eventually get a knife and cut it off. Or you have to grab the base of the stem and split the sucker vertically to make it work.

Anyone else notice this? What changed, why did it change, and how did it change?

I don’t have an answer, but it’s something that I noticed too. Here in Japan, the stems break off very easily, sometimes too much so. In North America, however, the stems are much sturdier.

This puzzled me because the bananas are all supposed to be clones, and so the difference shouldn’t be genetic. I can see how soil and weather can have an influence on taste, but on the structure of the stem?

One possible explanation I can come up with is that here bananas are typically sold somewhat riper than in North America. It may have something to do with how long the bananas are left to mature on the tree, but since I know next to nothing about this topic, I’ll defer to more knowledgeable people.

I noticed it too, I thought it might have something to do with preservatives added to the outside. I don’t know if they do this but, maybe they spray a waxy coating on them to keep bugs out. I also started opening them from the other end instead of wrestling the stem.

A year and a half ago I bought bananas in St. Petersburg, Russia, they were obviously ripened differently as the stems were separating on their own, with bananas just loosening from the bunch, and splitting at the seams, but not being brown and unappetizing. (Although as the natural covering provided by God/Ray Comfort had been compromised in the store.)

Since bananas sold far away from bananaland are all harvested unripe, my guess is that the ripening process used in America has changed.

I doubt it. Bananas left to ripen on the plant become mushy. They are always harvested green and allowed to ripen later.

Even while green there are different states of maturity, aren’t there?

I just score the stem of the banana with my fingernail before peeling, and it breaks right off.

I have NOT noticed this. I have noticed that if I try to peel a banana that is not yet ripe (green tinted on the ends) sometimes the stem is tough like you describe. But if I wait until it is as ripe as I like it (fully yellow with just barely speckling of brown spots) it peels no problem, and always has.

I’ll allow that there may be a difference between how unripe bananas peel now versus back in the day. But I see no difference for a ripe banana.

Wow. I’ve noticed this half-heartedly for years and thought it was just my faulty memory, if I bothered to remember those precious diamond-engraved memories of banana-peeling through the years.

See? And I never threw it up on MPSIMS, and here I find it legit. Ignorance fought.

I read that commercial apples used to have thinner skins but have been bred to handle transport better so the skins have become tougher. Perhaps something similar has occurred with Bananas?

Public service announcement:

Peel them from the top, not the stem end. It’s easier, faster and cleaner (fewer banana stings).

Just pinch the top a couple times to start it and peel away.

One of many articles.

I grow bananas on my farm in Hawaii. The lowest hands on the bunch ripen first. When a hand turns a beautiful yellow color, we cut it off and eat it. The yellow color indicates the right amount of starch has turned to sugar and the fruit is just perfect for eating. If one has a banana plant producing fruit for their own consumption, you don’t cut the whole bunch off the plant. You harvest the hands as they ripen. If you cut the whole bunch, they’ll ripen too quickly. One can only eat so many bananas!

Whole bunches are cut down green for transportation purposes. The green fruit is treated with Ethylene gas by food distributors to artificially ripen it. BTW this gas is not some kind of strange poisonous concoction , bananas produce their own Ethylene to ripen the fruit. Distributors do the same thing to tomatoes.

Do you have any bananas today?

Yes! We Have No Bananas

Fizz, buzz. Have a banana!

I was looking for 30,000 lbs. of bananas.

How tough are your stems? Have they gotten tougher in recent years?

Maybe we are dealing with some kind of 100th banana phenomenon.

Do you have bagels* and lox? Do you have pounds of devaluated pounds? Do you have any watermelon-ay?

  • That’s a donut that’s been dipped in cement.

Also, I’ve noticed the phenomenon as well, and thought it was in my head, that I had faulty memories of easy-peel bananas as a y00t!

I noticed this maybe 15 or more years ago as opposed to when I was a kid. Never gave it much thought. Obviously the supporting structure around the fibers in the stem are breaking down more than the crispier earlier bannanas so it probably has to do with how long they have been picked before we see them.

Are we eating a different breed of bananas now that we were eating some years ago?

I read an article a year or so ago about it. (I’ll see if I can find a cite . . . ) It seems that a particular breed of banana, that was the most preferred for eating, got wiped out to extinction by a plague of some fungus or parasite or something.

The second-most preferred breed was not affected, and that is the best we have left now. Banana growers are very assiduous in protecting their orchards from any possible infestation that could wipe these out too.