It may seem like a simple task to decipher whether a banana is ripe or not, but it is more complicated than meets the eye. At the different stages of the banana’s lifespan, it will have different health benefits and nutrient concentration, so it’s a good thing to know.
People prefer a banana in different forms. There are many scales showing bananas in different stages of ripeness and the opinions on which banana is best differ strongly and almost evenly.
The means in which people use bananas vary as well. Some only use it for cooking while others may eat an entire banana along with their cereal or toast at breakfast.
No matter the stage you are consuming the banana, there are always plentiful nutrients you receive.
When is a Banana Ripe OR How To Tell When a Banana is Ripe
The best stage to consume a banana may depend on what you would like to get from it, but the matter of when it is ripe is concrete. This ripeness occurs when a banana begins to show signs of dark discoloration. Yes, when the brown spots start to coat it, and most households throw it in the trash.
The appearance of a banana is the best method of telling its ripeness. When the outside of the banana begins to blacken it is showing signs of ripening. Even when a banana is all encased in a dark skin it is over-ripened but edible.
When bananas are young, they start as a green color that lightens to yellow. There are some that prefer a green banana, but others who argue it has very bitter and raw properties.
Banana’s have a great taste for the entirety of their shelf life. If a consumer prefers a light banana taste, an unripe young banana will be a proper selection. It is stiffer and has more bitter of a taste the younger it is.
As a banana ages it becomes sweeter, and most prefer this banana taste. The banana can easily become a mushy consistency if left to over-ripen.
Health Benefits and points on How To Tell When A Banana Is Ripe
Everyone knows bananas are a healthy snack, but why? Bananas are chock full of nutrients such as fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and B6. Throughout the ripening process, the concentration of these nutrients remains constant. However, as the banana ripens, there is a chemical change happening.
Over time the starches are transformed into sugar compounds like glucose and fructose. Therefore, the taste of the banana is sweetened over the ripening process. When a banana is left to ripen, it can actually become easier for the average person to digest because your body does less work.
That does not mean a banana with less time to ripen is healthier because your own body will transform the starches to sugars on their own, so the calorie count remains the same. The only added benefit of a green banana is that it still might contain a more resistant starch compound which is favorable for bacteria in your stomach that are beneficial to your digestive process.
When it comes to ripe bananas, one may assume they are the better of the two to consume. That can depend on the one digesting the fruit. When bananas are very ripe, they become denser in sugar concentration. This could be an unfavorable situation for a diabetic or someone closely watching their sugar intake.
Just because you must watch your sugar amount for the day does not mean you cannot enjoy a ripe banana, it just must be in moderation or be simple moderately ripe. For those who can’t have too much sugar, the relatively low sugar content makes it a great occasional healthy sweet treat.
When cooking with bananas, a ripe banana is usually preferred. This is because when a banana begins to ripen it becomes sweeter, and the starches are broken down into sugar. This mushy texture is also easier to deal with. Some very fun things to make with bananas are:
Quick History of the Banana
There are different types of bananas all over the world, and they all have different tastes, sizes, and even colors. The United States was first gifted with the banana as an imported product in the 1870s.
Though they are commonplace now, they were originally marketed as a rare and exotic fruit at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The fruit nearly fell off at first but Chiquita used their exotic origin to allow bananas to maintain enough popularity until Americans of the age learned how to peel and eat them correctly.
Almost unsurprisingly, there were protests of the banana at first which involved shaming women for publicly eating the phallic fruit. Fliers were disturbed throughout fruit markets to convince consumers that proper ladies only eat bananas with a knife and fork to maintain an appropriate etiquette.
Many do not know that the modern Cavendish Banana is not the same banana originally introduced to the US in the late 19th century. At that time the popular banana was a Gros Michel which was nearly wiped out by a fungus, referred to as Panama Disease, which the Cavendish Banana is resistant to. Everyone is familiar with the classic slipping on a banana peel gag, but most are unaware that this comes from actual events.
The Gros Michel banana actually had a more slippery peel than today’s Cavendish, and when it grew in popularity as a street food, many consumers simply threw the peel on the ground. The city of Chicago actually had to make it illegal to throw banana peels on the ground in an attempt to prevent growing instances of slips and broken bones.
The Bottom Line
Bananas are a healthy choice no matter what stage you consume them. It is never a bad decision to eat one or add it as a healthy snack to your diet. It may depend upon the person when the best time for them to eat it is, but the concept of it ripening does not mean it increases in nutritional value.
If you want to catch a banana at its sweetest is it best to wait for it to discolor or in other words-ripen.