One of the most popular plants of the family Musaceae is the banana. The plant is primarily known for its fruit, and it is cultivated in about 107 countries throughout the world.
Although banana is essentially a seedless fruit, some of the wilder varieties show presence of large and hard seeds. Bananas are eaten raw and cooked.The term dessert banana is used for those bananas that are yellow in color and are eaten ripe; whereas the green bananas are cooked and eaten. Stronger and starchier form of the fruit, referred to as plantains, is also an important ingredient in cooking. In comparison to the ripe yellow bananas, the green cooking bananas and plantains are easily transportable with less risk of damage to the fruit.
Most people associate the color yellow with bananas. However, this fruit is also available in colors of purple and red. The taste and texture of the fruit may vary with the procedure of cultivation. One of the most popular export varieties of banana is the Cavendish. This variety is not only comfortable to transport, but also sustains its freshness for a longer period. Bananas are generally exported in the unripe form when they are green in color. On reaching the destined country, they are stored in air tight rooms known as ripening rooms. These rooms are especially designed with large amounts of ethylene gas in them that aids in the ripening process. Such varieties of fruit that are ripened via artificial means acquire an extremely vibrant yellow color that one can see in the markets.
However, if the fruit is allowed to ripen naturally, it attains a yellowish brown shade instead of the glowing yellow. This type of naturally ripened fruit always tastes better but it is not of much use commercially. Naturally ripened bananas have a shelf life of only 7 to 10 days. Therefore, the practical solution for exporting bananas is to remove the fruit unripe and thereafter use ripening rooms at the distribution site for attaining maturity or ripeness. One also needs to be very particular of the temperature conditions during the transportation. The ideal temperature during this time should be 13.5 to 15 degree Celsius. Temperature lower than this range will hamper the ripening process by breaking the cell wall and rendering a gray shade to the fruit.
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