Refrigeration, bananas, and truth

When I was a kid, anytime the subject of bananas came up, my father would sing a little jingle, to which the words were:

Chiquita Banana says you

must never never

put your bananas in the


And so my entire life, I have taken as absolute fact the idea that bananas must never go in the fridge. Never never!

I never questioned that until this morning.

I was looking at a bunch of bananas on my kitchen counter that have once again gone from green to spotted-brown almost overnight, and I was thinking about avocados, which I leave on the counter until they ripen and then I put them in the fridge.

And I thought, Wait, what if I did the same thing with bananas?

So I poked around online a bit, and found out some interesting things:

  • I think Peter may have misremembered the words and the tune to the Chiquita jingle. (Or it’s possible that I have long misremembered Peter’s version of it.) There’s an old minute-long animated Chiquita commercial that has a similar line in it, but neither the words nor the tune are the same as what I remember Peter used to sing, and a quick web search isn’t turning up any evidence of a different version of it.
  • The original Chiquita ad also says that bananas taste best (and are best for you) just after the brown spots appear on the skin. That’s a matter of taste, I guess; I prefer them in the slightly firmer stage just before the brown spots appear on the skin.
  • One page that I saw said that it’s best to store bananas in a relatively cool environment—not refrigerated, but also not (for example) exposed to direct sunlight. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but seems worth a try.
  • It turns out that you can refrigerate bananas, but should do so only after they ripen, because refrigeration slows or stops the ripening process. I wish I had known that! Many bananas have lost their ripeness over the years due to my not having that information.
  • Apparently after a couple days in the fridge, the skins are likely to turn brown.
  • Sources disagree on what happens after that. One page I saw said (I’m paraphrasing from memory) ~“The skins turn brown, but that’s not a problem, the bananas still taste good.”~ The other said ~“The skins turn brown, at which point you have to throw them out because the bananas start to taste bad.”~

Anyway, it’s always startling when I learn that something that I have unquestioningly believed my entire life turns out to be not entirely true.

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