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Welcome to How To Cook That, I’m Ann Reardon and  this week we are debunking banana hacks! There are   so many of them they seem to be a favorite with  the hack channels and the reason for that I think   is because the banana is the world’s favorite  fruit with 100 billion bananas being eaten every   year! That’s a lot of bananas.

So let’s start with  this clip … I did actually show you this clip   in my video last time and i didn’t get around  to showing you what actually happened because I   put it onto timelapse and nothing happened for so  long that i had to leave it on timelapse and save   it over for this video.

With the original clip I  wasn’t actually sure what the purpose of putting a   chili inside a banana inside a watermelon full of  soil actually was because it didn’t show anything   beyond that in the five-minute crafts video,  but while we’re doing that let’s try a few more   gardening tricks.

They have some other banana ones  believe it or not. They’ve got this one so let me   show you the thumbnail it says in a few days if  we put an aloe plant into a banana within a few   days it will have tripled in size or doubled in  size it’s a lot bigger anyway it’s impressive.

   Now if we click on it and watch the actual video  they take a tiny aloe plant with hardly any roots   they cut a hole in a banana and then they put  a different plant that has a lot more roots in   and then they timelapse or stop motion for a few  days and then look how much the roots have grown.

   Now note they’re contradicting their own thumbnail  here because the aloe plant didn’t grow at all   but the roots did have miracle growth  so we will check that one out and see   what happens.

I too i’m gonna cut a hole in a  banana and add in an aloe plant into the hole   but i reckon we’ve got room in our time lapse for  one more banana so let’s see what else five minute   crafts has going on.

They have a banana and they  put it into a glass of water chop the top of the   banana and add a leaf from a plant and it will  grow roots out of the top of the banana. Well   that seems really easy way of making  plants to me so let’s give that a go   chuck the banana in the water chop the top off  and add the leaf, now let’s put all of those   plants on time-lapse together so that we can see  what happens.

Now this is a real-life time lapse   not a pretend stop-motion one so you can see  what actually happens and in the first few days   not much happens at all but if we take a look at  this one you can see the banana is starting to rot   and we’ve got this gross mold forming in the  water.

Let’s put the time lapse back on so   we can see what happens next certainly so far  there’s been no miracle growth that we can see.   The watermelon skin is going brown and it’s  starting to smell really bad and oh dear the aloe   plant’s not looking too happy.

The end of the leaf  that was stuck into the banana is rotting and it   has no roots growing on it at all and apart from  going bad what was supposed to happen with this   one we basically just wasted a banana and a chili.

  That leaves the aloe plant did the roots grow?   No. Now i felt sorry for this little plant because  it’s been sitting in a rotting banana for the   last week so i put it outside in some soil and  then left it for two weeks so we could see what   the roots look like when they grow and they’re  actually quite thick roots and they have these   little tips on them when they’re just starting  to grow so it doesn’t look anything like the   roots that were on the five-minute crafts video,  so anyone would think that they maybe took some   roots off another random plant and then just  stuck them on to pretend that their roots grew.

   So obviously if you want to use banana skins  and organic matter like that as compost in   your garden it breaks down in the soil and adds  lots of extra nutrients and it’s really good   but the plants actually need the soil  not just the compost not just the banana.

   So don’t follow those hacks you’re just going  to waste your fruit and also waste your time and   your plants are not gonna grow doing that. Okay  moving on to the next video … forgot sun cream?   Perhaps move out of the sun .

.. leave a  banana peel in the sun for five minutes   and your skin … banana peel is a natural  UV blocker what are they talking about? That   that’s just totally wrong. Now this sort of thing  annoys me because this sort of disinformation   about sun and skin protection is dangerous  because if you just believed them and you tried it   you could get really badly burnt did you know  that one bad sunburn while you’re a child or   a teenager doubles your risk of melanoma as an  adult just one bad sunburn so this sort of thing   is potentially life-threatening.

So i just it  really annoys me but anyway let me test it out i’m   not going to test it on skin because i’m not that  silly, here i have some uv beads now these change   from transparent to all different colors when  they’re exposed to uv.

I’m going to leave this   first bowl plain as our control so that you can  see what happens to the beads normally in the sun   this one i’m going to spray with my favorite  50+ spray-on sun cream and i’m going to put   banana peel outside for five minutes just like  five-minute craft said and then rub that over   the beads really really well i want banana peel  everywhere to coat them.

Okay now let’s take it   outside and see if it works i’ve covered them up  so we can see the change as it happens i have the   control the banana and the sun cream let’s start  with the control .

.. take the cover off and you   can see that instantly the change in the color  they’re getting hit by the uv rays from the sun   so they’re changing from clear to all sorts of  colors. Next we’ll move on to the banana you can   see the brown bits of banana and the exact same  thing that happened to the control is happening to   them because it’s got no uv protection the uv is  getting straight onto the beads and it’s not going   to protect you from the sun at all apart from  the little brown bits.

Moving on to the sun cream   and you can see there is a very slight change in  the color not much at all but that’s showing that   the sun cream is giving good protection but you  shouldn’t be complacent about it thinking that   you’re safe.

The best thing you can do if you have  to be out in the sun is cover up, something tight   weaved and dark in color to protect your skin. As  i said disinformation about something as important   as keeping your skin protected from uv rays is  just dangerous and it’s dumb.

Now i did think   where on earth did they get that idea from where  could they have come up with that from and the   only thing i could find was one study where they  used concentrated black dye from banana peels   to dye fabric and they showed that the fabric  had better uv protection afterwards.

But if you   actually read the study there was two reasons they  gave for that one dark colored fabric protects   better than a light colored fabric and they were  making it black with the black from the peels and   two when they started they had raw cotton that was  untreated and when they dyed it the fabric shrunk   which meant that the weave became tighter the  holes were smaller for the sun to get through   so the uv couldn’t get through to the skin so it  was nothing to do with any active ingredients in   the banana nothing at all it was just that the  fabric was tighter weaved and darker in color.

   All right next we need some banana recipes  something a bit more fun … five minute   craft has this one they take banana peel and use  a fork to cut it into shreds then they add some   salt powdered garlic rosemary and barbecue sauce  and cook up the banana peel it doesn’t say how   long to cook it for and then they’re adding it to  a roll with some salad.

Now this looks to me very   similar to the vegan pulled pork recipe that has  been around for many many years and then it keeps   slowly resurfacing on different vegan channels and  then it will disappear again.

I must confess i’ve   never actually tried it you can eat banana peel  it’s not poisonous you do need to scrub it really   well because it does get sprayed with pesticides  because they’re not expecting you to eat it   so you need to wash it very well.

Whether you want  to eat it or not i guess if you’re in hard times   and you were really short on food this could count  as an extra veggie it’s not a good meat substitute   because it’s very low in protein but let’s cook it  up and give it to Dave to try.

Peel the banana now   other recipes for this say to scrape off some of  the white part so I’m going to do that then use a   fork to cut it into strips chuck that into the pan  there’s already a little bit of oil in there add a   shake of salt and a little bit of garlic powder  then I’ll just get some rosemary from my garden   and add that in, then a copious amount of  barbecue sauce because I don’t want it to   taste bad for Dave and then cook that up.

Did  you know barbecue sauce is nearly one-third   sugar so by heating this we’re basically making  it into a savory caramel coated banana skin,   let me test a little bit of this… it’s actually not that bad it’s not as bad as  i thought that it would be it basically tastes   a barbecue sauce.

The texture’s definitely like  eating a vegetable it’s nothing like eating meat   it’s a bit like a lightly cooked carrot or a  capsicum but it still has a bit of firmness to it   and let’s see what Dave thinks.

I don’t think  this is a bad one seriously. Okay do we trust her?   It’s been a long year. Okay smells good… mm-hmm well … it’s very saucy … oh saucy baby! I’m not sure what i’m eating  it’s definitely not meat   unless i’m eating tentacles.

It’s crunchy.  Put me out of my suspense what is it?   It’s banana peel. Banana peel? yes. Like  the packaging on the outside of the food.   Wow! Even monkeys peel bananas, do people do  that? Apparently in hard times they did .

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Now I’m going to go to YouTube and  see let’s look at banana hacks and see what   they show us … oh look five minute crafts  of course wrapping tape around a banana.   Then we have a lifehack zombie banana, does that  say 17 million views let’s check out that one! He’s blow-drying a banana and it turns from black  to yellow, I like that I think that was clever.

   Let me read some of these comments oh  some people thought it was real oh no   someone says they tried using a hairdryer and they  tried all different settings and nothing worked,   oh. Let me test this one out and see  if i can get it to work I have my   zombie banana as they like  to call it in my hairdryer.

.. No trick photography involved there at all and you  can see I mean i can keep going but you can see   we’ve got taken it from black to yellow. Of course  that is faked all you need is some erasable black   ink.

So the way these erasable pens work is  you write whatever it is you write and then   when you erase it the friction creates heat  and the heat makes the ink disappear so all   i did to the banana was put some of the black  ink from inside the pen on the outside of the   banana and then put my hairdryer on the hottest  setting and you can have fun showing your friends   how to turn an old banana into a new one if  you’re willing to sacrifice two pens that is.

   What else have they got let’s have a look  … cutting a slice from a banana skin   and then what is she doing she’s just shoving  bits of chocolate into the banana and microwaving. Ah it’s just really hot .

.. mmm i’m not sure why  it’s like why have you cooked the banana because   cooked banana just isn’t really that good.  Is it bad? It smells bad but it tastes okay.   As well as being one of the most popular fruits  in the world bananas are also one of the most   wasted because people throw them out  when they get to zombie banana stage   in our household i have more trouble keeping  bananas in the bowl rather than stopping them   going off.

Because bananas are such a lucrative  crop obviously with so many people buying them   there’s a lot of money involved in this there is  a ton of research on keeping bananas in the prime   condition but all that research is done for from  when it gets picked to when it gets to the shop   there isn’t much research from the point of once  it gets to your house because once you’ve bought   the bananas there’s not really any more money  to be made from that.

But people want to know   how they can keep their bananas fresh once they  get them home and how to stop them going brown   so fast so of course there’s plenty of theories  on the hack channels of what to do if you remember   when we were looking at videos in Greece there was  the one with the cellotape around the top of the   banana there and we’ve got videos here too if we  have a look Blossom says you should wrap the tops   of the banana in plastic wrap to keep them fresh  and then later in the exact same video they say   you should put the tops of the banana into water  to keep them fresh.

Gias from Greece says to   tightly wrap each stem to slow down the release of  ethylene gas now all of these different hacks that   are all saying some form of wrap the top are all  based on the one idea the one theory which is that   ethylene gas is being released from the top of the  banana and that’s going to age all the bananas and   the banana itself and therefore if you wrap the  top of it it won’t age which is an interesting   theory because it’s the pulp the fruity bit  of the banana where the ethylene gas is made   so surely trapping it inside the banana  is going to make the banana go off quicker   or at least you’d think if you’re trapping  it if that’s where it came out you’d think   it would start to go off here because you’ve got a  blockage there.

But whoever said that it comes out   of the top like where did that theory come from  doesn’t it just come out of the whole banana.   So I did a bit more digging to find out where  did this theory come from in the first place?   Back before 2012 there was no mention of it on if  you do a Google search going back before that date   all you can find when you search for wrapping the  top of bananas is banana wraps so bananas wrapped   in flatbread and making recipes doing that there’s  no mention of it and then in 2012 there was this   article by lifehacker.

com that tells you to wrap  the top of bananas to stop ethylene gas escaping   and at the end of their article it says don’t take  my word for it wilgubeast links to a number of   papers on the topic, so let’s have a look at those  not found click on the second one not found it’s   not looking good and the last one error not found,  okay so the three bits of information that this   is saying is proof are not even there.

So then i  tracked down the wilgubeast article and that was   not in english so i translated it to english and  long story short two of the links were nothing to   do at all with bananas ripening that bit of  what he’d written wasn’t about that .

.. the   only one relevant link was a broken link but he  had written the name of the person who did the   study so i managed to look her up and find that  study. Interestingly when i read that she didn’t   mention anything about it what she did mention is  that avocados in that little top section have in   the actual skin a higher concentration of ethylene  at the point where they fall off the tree and that   aids in them falling off the tree.

No mention  of them exuding gas from the top and no mention   of that being the case in bananas or that even  being tested in bananas so from that one little   piece of information someone has come up with this  theory which has been picked up by another website   which has just gone like wildfire all over the  world even to Greece, which just shows you how   quickly misinformation can spread around the world  and now people are wasting their plastic wrap   and wrapping the top of their bananas but i know  some of you are still not going to believe me   so we’re going to put some of these to the test  but first of all let’s see what else there is   that is on offer for preserving our bananas.

I  like this one on reddit someone suggests that we   should paint our bananas yellow because that will  stop them turning brown. 5 minute crafts also says   that hanging the bananas will prevent them from  ripening that’s an old one that’s been around for   a long time and blossom says if we put an apple in  with the bananas and then seal that with plastic   wrap the ethylene gas, again, released from the  apples will ripen the banana more quickly so let’s   do a banana storage wars.

For this experiment i  have two bunches of bananas and what i’m going   to do is take one banana from this bunch and one  banana from this bunch, so we have an even pair of   bananas and that’s going to be the same for each  test one banana from each bunch.

So for the first   pair let’s tightly wrap the ends in plastic for  the second pair let’s place the ends in water,   it’s actually quite hard to get these to balance  in a bowl of water and for this one I’m dipping   both ends into hot wax i think they might need a  second or a third coat to give that good coverage.

   Next we have hanging bananas let’s put those  over there, there we go and the Blossom idea of   enclosing them in plastic with an apple to ripen  them up faster this one even if the banana itself   is just releasing ethylene gas by enclosing it  in the small bag should make this one go browner   faster and I’m adding in an extra one these  bananas are going into the fridge which as you   may know will make the skins go brown faster  but i want to see what happens on the inside   and these two bananas are the control  bananas which means I’m doing nothing   to them I’m just leaving them as they are  and here we go let’s see what happens.

.. Now let me just pause that time lapse there  i’ll show you what happens over the rest of   the days in a minute but i know some of you are  already angrily typing in the comments … you   can keep going don’t let me interrupt you .

.. and  saying that you can’t do the experiment like that   because the ethylene gas from the control  banana that doesn’t have its end covered   is going to affect all the other bananas and  therefore they’re all going to get ripened because   of those two bananas.

Well as i already said  that is kind of based on a misconception that the   ethylene gas is going to come out of the end of  the banana and it’s also based on the thought that   ethylene gas makes the bananas ripen faster which  it kind of does but i feel like i need to explain   the process that these bananas go through before  they get to you for you to kind of understand   how this works.

So the bananas that you get in  store before they’ve got to you they are picked   while they are still green on the bigger farms  they’re then transported by a conveyor belt   through the processing area where they’re washed  cut into smaller bunches or hands and then they   use water to carry them because that helps prevent  bruising and then package them into cartons.

These   are then held at 13 degrees centigrade or 55  degrees fahrenheit and transported in these   refrigerated trucks to the ships and on board the  ships they’re stored in temperature controlled   containers.

When they arrive at the docks they  are still green and because they’ve been picked   so early they’re just going to stay green unless  they’re triggered to ripen so they go to a special   ripening facility where they are packed into a  very small room for the amount of bananas that   are in there and ethylene gas is pumped in for  one to three days and the room is pressurized to   make sure that gas is concentrated and gets around  all of the bananas and that triggers them to then   start the ripening process.

All they need  now is a little bit of warmer temperature   and they’ll go from green to yellow to brown,  you can’t stop that process now it’s happened,   the ethylene has triggered the process it’s going  to keep happening.

Now normally bananas would make   that ethylene themselves internally when they’re  still on the trees but what they’ve found with   bananas that have been triggered to ripen with  all that external ethylene is they actually don’t   produce much internal ethylene anymore at all  because they don’t need to the ripening process   has already been triggered and it still does  make a little bit but not much.

Okay let’s see   the rest of the time lapse … from the outside  they all seem to be ripening fairly consistently   apart from the ones in the bag surprisingly  they were supposed to ripen first   and you’ll notice that none of them are ripening  at the stem end first which if we’re blocking in   ethylene from coming out of those ends  you would imagine that to be the case.

   Okay let’s have a closer look this is our  control banana it’s over ripe and super soft   as you’d expect after all that time. This is the  wax coated one it’s very similar to the control.   The ones that had the tops in water that is  really soft it’s even softer than the control one.

   Hanging bananas and the plastic wrapped bananas  both of those are very similar to the control   they’ll be good for milkshakes and now for the  ones that were in the bag with the apple. These   ones look great on the outside but they feel  weird they feel like an old soft banana that   is just bizarre seeing a yellow banana that hasn’t  browned but the texture is really really soft it’s   like they’ve been cooked or something.

Next we  have the two from the fridge which of course look   really dark on the skin because the coldness of  the fridge damages the skin but after nine days   they’re pretty much still firm and very much  edible just like that.

According to the studies   i’ve read the best thing you can do at home  to help slow the ripening of your bananas is   to control the temperature that they are at. The  best temperature for bananas is 13 to 15 degrees,   our fridges are about 3 degrees so it’s a little  bit cold for bananas but i’m assuming you like me   don’t have a separate banana fridge so they can  just go in your normal fridge once they are ripe   if you put them in there when they’re still  green they’re not going to ripen up and   that’s not going to be any good.

The skins will  go brown because it’s a bit too cold for them but   the inside is going to stay good so that is one  of your best things you can do. The other thing   you can do is make sure they’re not exposed  to sunlight that’s going to ripen them faster   and humidity a high humidity will reduce the  water loss and will keep them from going brown   for longer which is probably what the effect of  it being in the bag was, by sealing it in there   we ended up with it very steamy and high humidity,  if it’s too wet though it’s going to cause it to   rot.

So probably don’t store it in a plastic bag  as you can see it ripened on the inside anyway so   your best option is to put them in the fridge. Now  we can’t have all this talk about bananas without   mentioning panama disease if you’ve never heard  of panama disease it is a fungus that is affecting   the Cavendish bananas which is the ones that  everybody eats that are exported all around the   world basically it’s in the soil and it gets into  the vascular system of the plant and clogs it up   so it can’t get nutrients and it can’t get water  and it basically is choking the plants.

So once   one plant gets it on a plantation it takes about  three years before the entire plantation has it,   there’s currently no fungicide that will kill  it and it can survive in the soil for 40 years   so if a plantation gets it it pretty much once  it’s wiped out that soil that area cannot be   used for growing bananas anymore.

Which this is  pretty crazy this same thing happened in the 1950s   with a different breed of bananas called the grow  michelle and wiped it out we basically we don’t   get it anymore since 1965 it hasn’t been sold to  the mass export market hasn’t been sold to stores,   so this could wipe out bananas as we know them.

  Which would be really sad for people like me who   like eating bananas but even more so imagine if  this was your source of income if you lived in   a country where you grew bananas and your family  was all employed in the banana processing thing   this is devastating to them, not only that in  those rural areas bananas can make up to 25%   of the nutritional intake of the area so this is  a mass food shortage issue for a lot of people.

   Fortunately a professor in Australia has been  working on this problem for several years now   and he has found a wild banana that is resistant  to this panama disease and he’s basically taken   that gene that makes them resistant and put it  into the Cavendish banana and made a Cavendish   banana plant that is resistant to tr4.

They’ve  actually planted crops of it in soil that’s been   infected with tr4 where it’s wiped out whole  crops and this crop has survived and has been   good. The problem with that is obviously it’s  genetically modified and a lot of people are very   anti-genetically modified food i’d be interested  to hear in the comments what your thoughts on that   is obviously with GMO it’s one thing to talk about  it when you’re just talking about something being   nicer but when you’re talking about wiping out a  quarter of people’s food supply, it’s a completely   different conversation.

One interesting thing or  thought that i had is why don’t we just eat the   wild banana if that’s naturally resistant even if  it looks a bit different or it’s a bit weird why   don’t we just have that one instead and then i saw  that that one’s not edible.

Inside it it has hard   large seeds and so many of them that  there’s not really any banana flesh in there   so there are lots of other varieties of  bananas but there’s not another one that’s   like the cavendish there isn’t another one  that is what we’re used to a lot of them   have seeds not all as large as that one but a  lot of them do have hard large seeds in them   or they’re just completely different so let me  know have a debate about gmo in the comments,   i think that’d be an interesting one to see where  you guys stand on that.

And a big thank you of   course to my patrons for all of your ongoing  support you guys are legends you allow me to   spend time doing research and debunking fake  things and bringing up important topics like   panama disease so we can have discussions about  those.

You can watch more of my videos here I   really appreciate it when you do that that helps  me out a lot as well and subscribe to how to cook   that turn on the notifications you know the drill.  Make it a great week and I’ll see you on Friday.

100 Comments

  • Well of course the Cavendish banana is already a cultivar, selectively grown for the smaller seeds and softer pulp. In effect, modified food. So really, the GM debate is moot. I'd have no problem eating a GM banana. If they could modify it so it takes longer to turn brown and soften that would be perfect. And at the end of the day, as the climate changes and conditions around the world become difficult for farmers, we're going to see more and more GM foods to enable farmers to continue supplying the hungry world population. It's that or we all learn to love eating bugs when vegetable and fruit crops become extinct. I'm not really ready for locust burgers or fly sausages. I'll take the GM foods.

  • Literally every single modern day food is Genetically modified in some way. Usually to make the plants taste better, like Broccoli for example. Watermelon was modified, bananas are already modified so they don't produce the typical large seeds found in wild bananas, not to mention all of the "seedless" fruit varieties, etc.
    Quite often, like the case with these bananas, it's necessary to keep crops around. It literally saved the life of these plants that could have otherwise been wiped out by disease. But like with seedless fruit, it can be bad for the crops as they can become nore prone to disease, like with our modern "seedless" bananas that we're all used to.
    Genetically modifying food is not always a bad thing, as I said there isn't a single food that we eat (at least in the US, can't say for everywhere else, of course) that hasn't been modified in some way.
    And I have to say, people have a lot of nerve, being against genetically modified food when they have no issue eating frozen/microwaveable food or fast food.
    The exception would probably be wild caught fish/seafood and animals that were hunted for food. But

  • You asked for opinions so here's mine based on logic: Growing one crop in mass quantities continually in the same area is what causes strains of these diseases to evolve and then attack the entire crop. Better to rotate crops and create a more self sustaining system by also varying the type of plant grown beside each other. Instead of acre after acre of the exact same thing, which is also the equivalent of putting all eggs in one basket. Genetically modifying the plant merely perpetuates the problem and creates stronger and more deadly diseases due to the fact that bacteria, viruses and fungi can quickly evolve since they can reproduce so quickly. Whether the disease is to plants, animals or humans will remain to be seen in each case – consider studies done on the effects of feeding GMO corn to livestock – if you can still find the independent peer-reviewed research. Thank you for the informative video!

  • Fascinating. Thanks. I am growing my own bananas here in South Florida and they are heavenly. I don't know what variety. They seem to me to be much sweeter and smaller than the ones for sale in the stores. Hope mine don't get that fungus.

  • The beginning of these videos: Haha let's laugh at the ridiculousness of some of these ideas! Kids, don't try this at home, you could get hurt!
    The ending of these videos: This is what's happening in the world and we should all be aware of it.

    Personally, I think some GMOs get a bad reputation. My uncle blamed GMOs for everything from cancer to autism (but he was not a very informed man and had a tendency to take conspiracy theories as truth). Maybe I just don't know enough, but I'm of the opinion that making plants more resistant to diseases, pests and other factors – so long as it isn't causing serious harm to the consumer or environment – then it isn't a terrible thing. Of course, I would rather if we didn't try to play god if we could avoid it since it's better to know the long-term effects before putting it out into a population (that and why fix what isn't broken?), but this scenario seems like one where intervention is necessary. Bananas have a very bloody history, but the simple fact of the matter is that so many people, including good family businesses, rely heavily on bananas to survive. That, and if it really is making up 25% of a person's diet, then losing it doesn't seem to be an option. Could we eventually adapt? Of course, but putting millions of lives on the line in the interim isn't an option in my opinion.

  • I have no issues with genetically modified foods. I think it's great. If we can make designer foods that last longer, grow bigger, have more protein or whatever… that's great.