cooking and eatingYou probably know it: Those long, thin threads when you peel a banana. Sometimes there isn’t, other times the banana is full of it. What kind of wires are these and should you eat them or not?
“Banana filaments have a scientific name: we call them vascular bundle systems,” says Sebastian Carpentier, who studies the properties of bananas. He is a scientist and group leader of the Banana Team within the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT at KU Leuven.
“These are the systems that transfer all the nutrients from the plant to the fruit. The plant produces a lot of sugars based on light, and from the soil it extracts nutrients like potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous. All of these things have to go into the fruit, which is why the vascular bundle system exists.”
The threads are mostly in the peel, but sometimes they start to loosen, so they get in the way when you peel a banana. The peel is green at first and yields little sugar, but as the banana ripens, it softens. Then it comes more easily from the fruit. The wires are separated. The more ripe the banana is, the more strings you have.”
The more ripe the banana, the more strings you will have
You can just eat those strands, says Carpentier. “But it’s not quite tasty. Because this system has a lot of fiber with, for example, latex and tannins. You can also taste the latter in wine. That feels a bit sharp on your teeth. It’s not unhealthy, but bitter.” So the trick is not to let the bananas get too overripe.
Bananas are very tasty, even with fruit puree for babies or young children. Are you just squashing wires into porridge? This is allowed by Carpenter, because there is nothing really unhealthy. , but due to its bitterness, porridge can be less common. So it’s not a good idea to delete it.”
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