Do you know where that banana has been? No, you don’t. You wash nearly every other fruit or vegetable before consuming it, why not bananas. You might be thinking that the skin is protecting you from contaminants, but the skin is part of the problem.
Banana aficionados probably know that our current market banana, the Cavendish, wasn’t always the American market banana. Until the 1950s, and the dreaded Panama Disease root fungus, the Gros Michel was what one would buy at the grocery. The Cavendish was substituted because the Gros Michel was no longer economically viable, and it had some resistance to the strain of root fungus going around. However the Cavendish banana of today is endangered, and it is only through administration of Â powerful anti-fungal agents that we are able to enjoy relatively cheap bananas. Â These agents remain on the skin. Furthermore, during shipping, bananas are exposed to a multitude of other industrial chemicals, and a wary consumer is careful to avoid these at all costs.
Proper banana handling begins at the store. I encourage you to use a plastic bag to pick up your chosen hand of bananas, inverting the bag around the bananas so you can take them home safely, and not contaminate any other food.
Next, when you wish to eat a banana, it is time to prepare your work area. Fill a large receptacle with warm soapy water, and have paper towels and tongs nearby for the processing.
While handling the unpeeled, contaminated, bananas, it is recommended that you wear rubber gloves, since the whole point is to avoid the contaminants.
Place the unpeeled banana in the tub of warm soapy water, and allow it to sit for sixty to ninety minutes.
You can now discard your current gloves, as they are contaminated.
Use tongs, or a fresh glove to remove the banana from the contaminated water.
Place the cleaned banana on your paper towel, and put on a fresh pair of gloves to peel the banana.
Now that the skin has been removed, it’s time for the final step in the cleaning process. The chemicals can seep through the skin, so to be safe, it is recommended that one wash the peeled bananas with a vegetable brush under cold running water.
Be sure to wash your hands when you are done!
And, finally, the properly cleaned and decontaminated banana is now ready for eating.