what the fuck is up with this banana
November 15, 2017 7:37 AM   Subscribe

My coworker just sliced a banana up into her bowl of healthy breakfast, and HOLY HELL this is not an okay banana. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE. Photos inside.

Here are a few photos. Dude, it's like...hard inside. It's like there's a seam of wood growing inside of this banana. I'm no banana scientist but I don't even think banana trees are as woody as the interior of this banana. It's so gross. My coworker seems reasonably unfazed (she's not eating the banana though, she already threw it out) but I'm mildly horrified. I don't think I'd be nearly so affronted with the banana if the insides didn't look and feel exactly like tree bark.

The banana came from peapod and, aesthetically, presented as a totally normal banana. I've received no other commentary on the other bananas it came with.

What IS this?!!?? I've seen a few bananas with that weird red fungus inside, but this is nothing like that. It's HARD. It made a crunchy sawing sound getting sliced.

Side question, is it okay to eat. Not the hard part which is probably yucky by mouthfeel alone, but if one of my coworkers ate halfway through a banana and hit a woody chunk, are they going to get sick from bananaitis or something. Thanks.
posted by phunniemee to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Russ Caid, special director of banana and technical services for Chiquita, said that the condition is called black center syndrome. He explained that once bananas have begun to ripen, they are very fragile and must be handled with care. Dropping a crate of ripening bananas as little as one foot can cause them to have black centers. Banana growers and shippers are aware of that and insulate the bananas from any rough handling. However, once these bananas are closer to their final destination, either at distribution centers or the supermarket, handling may become less careful, causing black center syndrome. Unfortunately, he concluded, there is no way to tell if a banana has black center syndrome until it is peeled.

It should be safe to eat, although the texture would be off-putting. Better to eat around it.
posted by ATX Peanut at 7:48 AM on November 15, 2017 [31 favorites]

Here's what reddit says.
posted by quadrilaterals at 7:49 AM on November 15, 2017

I do not know what is up with that banana. But I have bought banana plants from the lovely folks at Going Bananas, and perhaps they’d be able to help you. I hope they can help you.
posted by bilabial at 7:49 AM on November 15, 2017

I've eaten around it before and lived to tell the tale.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:25 PM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

That's not black center by itself (which is merely the banana ripening from the center outwards usually caused by a break where the stem joins the banana - this is why some people advocate foil on the banana stem).

My guess would be that it was black center but then enzymatic browning which turns the starches in bananas to sugar was fed upon by a fungus/mold. It looks fuzzy/furry in the picture which is usually a sign of fungus or mold.
posted by srboisvert at 10:53 AM on November 20, 2017

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