It is very common for bananas in supermarkets to be chemically ripened. The chemical ripening process turns the banana perfectly yellow all over and make it ready for eating more quickly than naturally ripened bananas.
Some say this is completely harmless and possess no health threats nor does a chemically ripened or a naturally ripened banana have any different nutrients, I do not know if it is true or not, but there is one thing that is for certain: they taste completely different.
The taste of chemically ripened bananas are very bland and sometimes the bananas are literally still hard and unripe on the inside even tho they are yellow on the outside.
When I taste natural bananas they are very sweet with a pleasant aroma. Natural bananas on our farm taste so delicious and soft compared to the tasteless bland chemically ripened bananas of the supermarket.
Why does the supermarket chemically ripen bananas?
Like nearly everything in the supermarket it all has to do with logistics. Supermarkets do not care if their products taste good or are bad as long as the logistics are in order. Bananas need to be transported and sold as quickly as possible, no matter if the products are low quality.
I honestly do not think supermarkets should chemically ripen bananas or that it is even necessary.
If supermarkets would actually care about their customers and their products they would make sure their bananas taste sweet and yummy.
Some supermarkets always make the same boring argument that “The customers demand it”. This is of course a blatant lie and a pathetic excuse. Supermarkets do not listen to customers and their needs, they only listen to profits over anything else.
It is really just sad and it makes me angry that I am paying a lot of money for a product tastes bad. I also feel deceived because the bananas look ripe and yellow on the outside, but are still unripe on the inside and I really do not like being deceived.
Of course the supermarket can do anything they want since most of the population is dependent on the supermarket and there are no alternatives. Its either you buy their low quality products or starve.
The only other alternative is to grow your own food, which I advocate, but sadly for many people its not possible to grow their own food, and it is even sadder that the supermarket exploits this fact.
How to detect a chemically ripened banana?
Some say its not possible to detect a chemically ripened banana from a naturally ripened banana. I do not know how true this is.
What I can say from personal experience is that usually chemically ripened bananas still have a green color at the bottom and the top. They also look perfectly yellow on all sides like it was photoshopped or sprayed, while naturally ripened bananas usually have an imperfect gradient of yellows from dark yellow to light yellow as well brown spots and various blemishes.
Are chemically ripened bananas harmful?
In terms of individual health the answer can be either yes or no, depending on who you ask.
Most bananas are chemically ripened trough ethylene gas. This is a gas the plants naturally use to ripen their fruits, and does not seem to be harmful to health. Altho the ethylene en gas used in chemical ripening is a lot more than the small concentrations used by plants.
Another product used for chemical ripening is Calcium carbide. Calcium carbide is banned in some countries, because it has been proven to be harmful to health. Since there is practically no way of knowing what source has been used to chemically ripened the bananas you are putting yourself at a health risk.
However other than the health risk it can be said for sure that chemical ripening is bad for the environment. Ethylene gas although naturally produced by plants is not enough for the fruit industry, because of that Ethylene is produced from fossil fuels trough distillation. While Calcium carbide is produced from limestone and coal.
Fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal, as well as limestone are all mined which causes lots of pollution for the environment. From deforestation to air and water pollution. Since humans are dependent on the environment for survival and well being I would say that even tho chemical ripening may not be individually harmful to a person (depending on the process) it is still a harmful process if you consider the process of production for the chemicals.
Besides even if it is harmful or not… Who would want to eat bad tasting bananas anyway?