Thursday, August 14, 2008

How to peel a banana

The other day we were having dinner with my mom and dad.

The various twists and turns of idle conversation eventually brought us around to the topic of bananas. My Supermodel Wife, for instance, doesn't like the texture of them. I love the taste of bananas, as long as they're ripe (very yellow with lots of brown freckles). My moms says she likes them a little under-ripe, still with a little green on the skin.

Anyway, my pops chimes in with this little tidbit:

"Did you know that if you peel a banana upside down, from the bottom where the seeds are rather than the top, where the stem is, you don't have all those stringy things to pull off?"

"Really?" I said. "Are you serious?"

"Absolutely, that's how apes eat them."

I was a little skeptical. My dad has a way of making up a lot of stuff and trying to pass if off as fact, like the time he tried to tell us that snow actually is a result of ground moister seeping up through the soil and being blown up into the air by harsh Kansas winter winds.

Anyway, it seemed to make a little sense. After all, bananas do grow upside down, so maybe that's nature's way of telling us that's how your supposed to peel them.

Well, rather than wonder if it true or not, I decided to get all scientific on your asses and do my own little version of MythBusters. So I bought a banana for lunch and decided to try this experiment in reverse banana peeling.

The first step it to cut off the bottom (witch is actually the top) of the banana. Normally, you can just break the stem and peel back the skin. But with no stem on the bottom, there's no leverage to pull. So I just used a steak knife I keep in my credenza for cutting bananas and self defense.

Note that I cut the tip of the banana high enough to remove the seeds and leave a nice finger hold for gripping the strips of skin.

So all that is left to do is peel down the skin.

As you can see the skin comes off in much the same way as peeling down from the stem. As for the stringy bits of banana flesh that you typically get, well, I still got a few small ones with this banana-peeling method. But I must say, they were much fewer and much shorter than normal.

So I think I'll declare this myth CONFIRMED! Peeling a banana from the bottom is a superior banana-peeling method.
Fun Fact: One medium banana (100 g) is a good source of vitamin A; a source of vitamins B6 and C, and copper; contains 0.3 g of fat, of which 33% is saturated; provides 3 g of dietary fibre; supplies 86 kcal (360 kJ). The sodium content is low (1.2 mg/100 g) so bananas are used in low-sodium diets.
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  1. The fact that you have this much time in your hands is somewhat troubling.

    I am not sure about superior... I guess I cannot place where my banana peeling technique came from... not sure I am going to change it just yet... try peeling a plantain... that takes some skills.

  2. I assure you, Logtar, that I take my banana peeling very seriously. It's just one of those things that you MAKE time for.

  3. I don;t understand--how is the bottom actually the top? Isn't the stem by definition where the banana grows from the tree and hence the top?

    My world is turning upside down!

  4. DLC, I see your point.

    By one definition, the stem (where the fruit meets the plant) could be considered the top of the fruit (tomatoes, apples, African horned melons).

    At the same time, since banana fruits grow up toward the sky from the stem when they are on the plant, the stem is at the bottom of the fruit.

    Hence the confusion.

  5. bananas actually grow upside down: If you have never seen bananas growing, you might be puzzled that they appear to be growing upside-down with their stems connected to the bunch at the bottom and the tips pointing upward. .peeling them this way seems to be more tedious because it's harder to split the skin.

  6. Ok I get it. It's just weird because I grew up with banana trees at my house and somehow never picked up on this. Or I drank away that memory in college.

  7. Well, yeah! I've been peeling using this method for years now. Except I don't cut the end off, I twist it off. The reason I started using this method is not the stringy things, but it is actually because the banana will peel all the way out of the skin easier

  8. "Or I drank away that memory in college."

    Holy crap! This theory explains a lot of things for me in my own life...

    I find this interesting. I'm gonna try it. (And I can't believe this sparked a bottom vs. the top discussion in your comments. Clearly, I'm writing about all the wrong stuff...)

  9. I just use my thumb nail to break into the bottom of the banana. You are a bunch of tool using pansies.

  10. This result was a failure. NOT confirmed. You still had the "strings" as they run parallel to the banana and are not effected by the direction of the peeling, and the fact that you had to use a knife to cut open the banana.

  11. I use my teeth to nick the tip then proceed to peel it off. I like having the stem on the bottom to make it easier to hold the banana. My family grew up doing it this way.. and it works well.


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