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I like my bananas less ripe than you like yours


Fat Guy
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I like my bananas firm, with just a little green still showing on the peel. Everybody else I know seems to like them much riper than that. To my palate, though, when they're that ripe, they have a decayed taste that doesn't agree with me. Am I a bad person for preferring underripe bananas?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm with FG. The texture and flavor of a banana is perfect when there is just a little green left on the skin, and no black splotches have shown up. The green is a guarantee of a little tart bite that complements the sweetness.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I'm wondering if this has as much to do with texture as anything. I like mine on the far side of sporting the black spots; it there is the first texture and the "bright" taste, I'm happy.

But, show me a banana with black spots and that smushy texture, and I'm likely to hork.

My kids prefer them more ripe than I do, so I'm the person at the market that's picking all of the singles (I'm not the one making them singles, BTW) -- totally green for me, barely green (for Peter) and various states of yellow -- including spots -- for Diana, Heidi and Paul.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Thanks for starting this brave topic, Fat Guy. I'm firmly in the green butt camp of banana eaters -- I won't touch a banana with a speck of brown. The perfect banana you describe is the only way I'll eat them -- they have a lilting fresh flavor.

Mottled, they are a sickly blast of sugary mush with the taste I associate with artificial banana flavoring. No character, no nobility, inedible.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I would rather see a few dark spots on the peel that the green hue if I am eating them as is out of the peel.

However, a close friend from Minas Gerais, Brazil once fed me a non-cavendish variety that was slightly starchy and a bit green and it was marvelous! It was smaller than a "regular" banana but nowhere near plantain size and bigger than the reds. Maybe the context contributed but the memory of taste I'll never forget that banana.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

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Moe Sizlack

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I like the brown speckled, nice and sweet but just this side of mushy.

Unfortunately living with two others who will eat their bananas in the ungodly way that others here have mentioned, I don't often get them the way I like them, because they are all gone!

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As with many of the others here, I, too, prefer my bananas underripe. I'll often buy them as green as possible, but they ripen so quickly! Once a speck of brown appears, they taste terrible - good only for banana bread and the like.

I've also periodically suffered a fate that must be unique to us - premature peeling. I like them with multiple green streaks, where they're just a tad difficult to peel and 'snap' at the top. Sometimes that means a sticky, starchy, astringent banana. Oops.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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I would rather have a banana with a few brown spots than one that is under ripe. That slightly bitter taste and dry mouth feeling of eating an under ripe banana just ruins it for me.

"In a perfect world, cooks who abuse fine cutlery would be locked in a pillory and pelted with McNuggets."

- Anthony Bourdain

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I thought I was the only person in the world who prefers under-ripe bananas. When I was a kid, I identified the perfect banana as one that was still "cold" in the centre. Then, I stopped eating bananas for a long time, because I hate the ripe ones so much. I might go out and buy a bunch of under-ripe bananas tomorrow. I've been looking for breakfast-on-the-go ideas.

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I also prefer my bananas with the side ribs streaked with green, as I find them not too sweet in this state. However it is the texture - slightly firm and dense - that I enjoy the most, as the banana is firm and not mushy; the peel doesn't leave a mealy mess. The only drawbacks to underripe bananas are the sticky peel and the aftertaste that can be left on the teeth.

I second DCP with the comments regarding bananas that have tended on the yellow side. When a banana is pure yellow, I leave it to ripen (get spotty and brown/black) for banana bread.

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I am drawn to the very slightly underdone. Sometimes I find myself eating them a bit less done than I like because they are sold still so, so green. Also I will usually leave the almost done for those in the house that I know prefer "just done" and "more than just done".

In another but related vein, I will not buy organic bananas anymore because they all seem to be mushy and mealy. I used to buy them and they seemed quite good, then all of a sudden this whole year on the many occasions I tried them they were horrible. Is it just me? Has anyone else experienced this change?

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Could not agree more FG. There is but the slightest window of time when a banana is actually edible to my taste. Too green and it's like chewing on balsa wood. To ripe, even by an hour, and the texture is so disgusting that the taste no longer matters. At that point, they're only worthy of banana bread.

Or compost.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Goodness me, I never thought I would fall so thoroughly in the other camp! In fact, just reading the descriptions of all these slightly green-skinned bananas makes me want to be sick (no exaggeration). Unripe banana is foul stuff, in my opinion. As NimaCooks put it above "That slightly bitter taste and dry mouth feeling of eating an under ripe banana just ruins it for me." Icky. Astringent. Icky. Pasty. Icky.

For me a good banana has a ripe banana flavour to it (rather than just pungent ethers). The skin is yellow and developing small black speckling. The flesh should be cream coloured with, at most, maybe a small softening beginning.

Meanwhile, i was always revolted by my nanna's preference for black, squidgy bananas!

-- lamington a.k.a. Duncan Markham

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - collaborative book reviews about all things food and wine

Syrup & Tang - candid commentary and flavourful fancies

"It's healthy. It's cake. It's chocolate cake."

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I like them a little riper than most people here--just before they start getting black spots is perfect for me. But it's not a huge big deal to me. I can't stand really truly underripe bananas, but any point after that is probably ok. I like them that much :biggrin: And if they're too ripe, into baked goods they go! I love bananas.

Kate

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The last time my father was at my house, he jokingly told my husband that I didn't know how to buy bananas. I like to eat them when they have a touch of green left or the have just turned solidly yellow. So I buy the greenest bananas I can find in the store.

In a perfect world, I would be able to go to the store each day and by one banana in this perfect state. I like to keep my house on the warm side, and my bananas ripen very quickly. I can stomach a brown spot on the skin, but multiple brown spots means the banana is destined for banana bread.

I love the firm texture and clean taste of barely ripe bananas. I want to have to chew it, not be able to gum it.

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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Yep, I'm also in the slightly green camp. Of course, I generally dislike banana-flavored anything so I guess I like underripe bananas because they don't taste as strongly of banana!

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In another but related vein, I will not buy organic bananas anymore because they all seem to be mushy and mealy.  I used to buy them and they seemed quite good, then all of a sudden this whole year on the many occasions I tried them they were horrible.  Is it just me? Has anyone else experienced this change?

Well, I haven't noticed any change this year, but I do notice that all the organic bananas seem to show up in the store at a greater degree of ripeness than the conventional ones. Although I'm in the very-slightly-green camp, I still buy the organic ones because they are the only ones that don't give me a stomachache. I always thought I just couldn't eat bananas until I tried organic bananas. I'd love to know what is about regular bananas that causes this, since you wouldn't think that any pesticides would make it through that thick skin.

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Once you deep fry them in bacon fat the ripeness is really not a factor.

lol!!! :biggrin: Diet Coke just squirted out of my nose.

The rest of you can have every one of the green bananas currently lurking in my fruit bowl (you'll have to fight my son for them, though--he'll only eat them if they're completely firm with not a brown spot in sight). I don't want my bananas mushy, but the skin needs to be completely yellow with just a few brown speckles--anything more than that and I toss them in the freezer to save for banana bread which is, imho, the only decent way to serve a banana (well, it was until SS's bacon fat idea. Mmmmmm... bacon fat...)

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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I have to agree too. I think the texture and flavor are perfect and creamy at the barely ripe stage.

As soon as they get ripe with any brown on them, I feel I can taste the gas that ripens them for whatever reason.

It's not like I've been trained to eat them barely ripe either, because my mom hates the way I need my bananas. Ripe is just too sweet, with that gas's fragrance filling my nose and mouth. Eghhh...

If they get brown spots, they automatically go into bananas or baked goods. I actually don't buy too many bananas though, because of the ripeness issue.

Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

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I don't consider bananas to be suitable for baking until they are far too slimy to be eaten. A few little brown spots isn't sweet and banana-y enough for banana bread or muffins.

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