Bananas at Their Best

Great-Tasting Bananas
Three Times the Shelf Lif

Using bananas in Vietnamese cuisineEveryone seems to love Bananas, from the tropical zones, many in Asia, where they are grown and eaten, and the Temperate zones all over the world, where they are a favored fruit.

In fact, in Japan, Bananas are the No. 1 preferred fruit, according to recent consumer research.

But there are problems – the time when they are at their prime eating condition is short, they spoil easily, and you cannot keep them in  the refrigerator, as we’ve all been told many times. Plus, older consumers in places like Japan say today’s Bananas don’t taste as good as they used to.

Is this true,or just one of those tricks our memories play on us?  Turns out it is true — formerly bananas used to be shipped and consumed much closer to their prime eating condition, so the aroma and flavor were better.

Today;s Bananas aren’t different, but the method of harvesting, shipping and marketing them is.  After the Second World War, most producing countries used a method in which the Bananas are harvested in a much more green state, then shipped to the consuming countries, where they are fumigated and receive a special gas fumigation treatment.

The resulting Banana has a longer shelf life and waste is reduced, but the aroma and flavor are inferior to those of former days.

Because Bananas are so popular in Japan, food specialists in that country have done a lot of research on the fruit, and have come up with some special techniques for handling Bananas that improve their flavor and also greatly extend their shelf life.

And, using this technique, you can now keep Bananas in the refrigerator, despite whatever Chiquita Banana may have said in the past.

New Banana research summarizing these findings has been provided on the science programming of Japan’s NHK television.

Everything You Need to Know About 21st Century Bananas: Using this newly available research , which is still basically limited to Japan, you can do the following:

  • produce super-sweet bananas with excellent flavor and aroma in minutes after you get the bananas home – no need to wait
  • extend the shelf life of Bananas up to three times
  • keep Bananas safely in the refrigerator.

This special technique takes only about 5 minutes and is easy to do. Cover the Bananas in hot water at 40 – 50 degrees Centigrade for 5 minutes.  After the hot water bath, keep the Bananas at room temperature for an hour while they dry off and cool down in the dish rack. Then put the Bananas in a plastic bag, like the one they may have come in from the market, and store them in the refrigerator.

Note: 50 degrees Centigrade is halfway between freezing and boiling.  Many domestic kitchen hot-water systems deliver water of this temperature.  Put another day, 50 degrees Centigrade is about the maximum temperature that you can put your hand in hot water without pain. If unsure, measure the first time with a kitchen candy thermometer.

It is not absolutely essential to maintain the temperature precisely during the hot-water bath. If the temperature is at the 40- to 50-degree level when you put the Bananas in and you keep them in the hot water fr five mninutes, it will work. Let them dry and cool off for at least an hour, wrap in the plastic bag and refrigerate.

The first thing you will notice is that the Bananas treated this way are immediately ready to eat, and the fragrance and flavor is superb.  Old-timers who remember the Bananas of yesteryear say this is the way Bananas used to taste!

The second thing you will discover, is that the hot-water treated Bananas can be keep isafely n the plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks without the fruit becoming mushy or over-ripe.  In fact, it will stay perfect during that time, whenver you want a Banana.

Finally, you may notice that the Banana skins may turn spotted or even completely dark during the two-week period.  But the fruit will be unaffected.  In the case of Bananas ripened at room temperature in the usual way, such spots or discoloration of the skin are bad news.  But with these hot-water treated and refrigerated Bananas, it doesn’t matter. The insides will be all right.

There is a certain amount of science, from Boany and Plant Chemistry, that explains why this works.  This will be covered in another Article, together with someother disoveries about using Bananas in the Asian kitchen.

The important thing here is that you have a way to enjoy Bananas at the peak of their ripeness, aroma and flavor, immediately, while triplling the shelf life of this delicious fruit!

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  1. Pingback: Japanese Cuisine, a healthy and delicious food lifestyle | Pacific Rim Gourmet

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