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 .
.. and 2020 has been hard times so folks don’t throw away good food. Now a word from today’s sponsor NordVPN they have a special deal for you if you go to nordvpn.com/howtocookthat then you get 68% off plus an extra four months free after that.
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As you may or may not know a lot of pages customise their content according to where you are based so we might look at YouTube based on somewhere else … where should we go today which country should I choose Nord has thousands of servers but I think today I’ll choose Greece.
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.
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