[Sca-cooks] Bananas

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Thu Jul 29 09:44:03 PDT 2010

Bananas are cut just before ripening and shipped refrigerated.  Once they come 
out of refrigeration you have roughly two weeks to sell them.  That is why 
bananas only became a widespread commodity in the late 19th Century.

The closest place to Europe to get bananas is the Canary Islands and you need a 
very fast sailing vessel and fair winds to get the bananas to market before they 
spoil.  The bananas that were sold in London in 1633 were a botanical sample 
shipped live as a small plant from the West Indies, allowed to mature, and 
harvested when ripe.  Not a good commercial strategy.  The grocer who sold them 
was the botanist who edited the 1633(?) edition of Gerard's Herbal.


.Back on July 19, Talana mentioned:
<<< I worked for a produce distributor for couple of years.  The bananas arrived 
green, and we ripened them in the warehouse.>>>

I have noticed that a lot of the bananas I see in my local HEB grocery store 
still look pretty green.

So why couldn't they have harvested the bananas green and shipped them to 
southern Europe or even England?  Was the shipping time still too long and they 
would go from green to over-ripe while still being shipped? Or is there some 
more processing that needs to be done or a temperature range that has to be 
maintained that medieval shipping practices couldn't accommodate?



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