[Sca-cooks] Bananas

Sam Wallace guillaumedep at gmail.com
Fri Jul 30 06:03:59 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."

Modern methods for controlling the ripening of fruits, inculding
bananas, revolve around control of ethylene. Ethylene control is used
in conjuction with humidity and temperature control to preserve fresh
fruit and vegetables. Refrigeration alone will not do as good a job,
especially in dealing with fungus and mold. I wonder what early
records there are of ice being used in the transport of fruit. Also, I
would be interested in finding early attempts at preserving bananas
(canning or drying) or making banana extract so that the fruit might
be present in spirit even if absent in the flesh.

"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."

Actually, this can be a great commercial strategy. If you have the
sole source of a novelty product that has good potential demand, you
can charge quite a bit for it. In fact, this is the current situation
in Alaska for a lot of their local fruit and vegetable production. One
of our family friends has acres under glass.


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