Festive banana toppers?
March 27, 2014 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Do you remember bunches of bananas being sold in the store with colored cellophane wrapped around the stems, 20+ years ago? I certainly do, but I can't find any proof on the Internet of it being a thing. Imagine a 4 inch square of cellophane, placed over the stem, then wrapped with a rubber band.

This was inspired by finding this picture of me as a child wearing a banana costume for Halloween circa 1990. I remember being disappointed that the only cellophane we could find wasn't a perfect match for what was in the store, which I think was red.

Do you remember this? Better yet, can you find a picture of bananas presented this way? And why on earth did they do that?
posted by zsazsa to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't remember this.
Here's a picture with clear cellophane, apparently to keep them fresher longer.
posted by Rob Rockets at 4:45 PM on March 27, 2014

I have recently seen them at a local Asian grocery store with the stems wrapped in red or pink plastic. Here's a Chowhound discussion about whether that keeps them fresher!
posted by wintersweet at 4:52 PM on March 27, 2014

Doesn't answer your question, but the ones I buy often have a bit of plastic on the stems that's white and more crinkly than cellophane, and it's like a bit that was left over when someone removed a bigger piece. I don't see them fully wrapped like in Rob Rockets' photo. But definitely there is some kind of plastic wrap being used somehow and removed before being put out on display.
posted by HotToddy at 4:57 PM on March 27, 2014

I remember red cellophane like stuff. Way back when, though, so I doubt the bananas I had with that on them were organic, but I did find this from 2008: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2008/05/week-48-results-59-oz-of-plastic-waste/

Dear Ms. Terry,

Thank you for contacting us. The plastic cover seals the surface of the cut-crown on the top of the cluster to protect the quality and the health of the crown. The air-tight parafilm seal helps maintain the products freshness and quality appeal.

posted by AllieTessKipp at 5:13 PM on March 27, 2014

I am going to the store in a few minutes. This particular store wraps the stem end of bananas in plastic wrap. Or, more probably, purchases them this way. I can take a photo of it, if you'd like.
posted by mollymayhem at 5:48 PM on March 27, 2014

Aha. The bananas I buy are organic. So that's one mystery solved. Have to say I vastly prefer a bit of plastic to fungicide.
posted by HotToddy at 6:39 PM on March 27, 2014

I remember seeing this recently, I think at BJs, and wondering about it.

Anyway here is an article that suggests separating bananas, and individually wrapping the stems in plastic wrap. The reason this supposedly works, from that page is: "Bananas, like many fruits, release ethylene gas naturally, which controls enzymatic browning and ripening of not just itself, but other fruits nearby. Much of that offgassing takes place at the stem—or the crown—of the banana. By wrapping the crown of a bunch, you slow down the ripening process a bit."

Of course, you can also just eat the bananas before they rot.
posted by beagle at 6:44 PM on March 27, 2014

You know...I think I do remember red cellophane on banana tops. But I might be imagining it.
posted by limeonaire at 7:26 PM on March 27, 2014

posted by mollymayhem at 7:57 PM on March 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes. I remember them.
posted by michellenoel at 9:32 PM on March 27, 2014

I've been scouring Google Images for 1960s/70s/80s grocery store pictures and the closest I can find is this image which may show the red plastic on top of the bunch of bananas. However, the red shape may be the base for the checkout computer instead...
posted by zsazsa at 12:56 AM on March 28, 2014

I don't have any photographic proof, but I remember this from the 90s too. I think ours used to come wrapped in blue or red plastic.
posted by hungrybruno at 12:07 PM on March 28, 2014

Relevant comic
posted by aubilenon at 12:00 AM on April 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

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