While satiating my never-ending and overbearing banana cravings I have noticed something interesting about Korean bananas. When we buy bananas in the U.S., we place them in our fruit bowls and eat one (or ten) a day until the bunch is gone. During this process they sit patiently awaiting their fate in a greenish/yellow state of skin. When you buy bananas in non-tropical Dongducheon, South Korea, they put up a massive fight. They throw themselves into a fit of brown rage by the 24-hour mark of being in their new home and unless you have a blender to tame them into sweet, sweet smoothie form, they are almost useless and really quite slimy. What’s going on here? Does Korea have more combative fruit or are we looking at a totally different problem altogether? I did a bit of research and this is what I gleaned:
– Bananas travel an average of about 3,000-4,000 miles to arrive in Seoul, at which point they are transported northward to our lovely little mountain city. During this trek they are in transit for a while, traveling by air or boat from India & the southern Philippines to arrive in our markets and eventually to our homes. Bananas headed to even the northern states in the U.S. have to travel about half of that distance from Mexican and Central American banana plantations, therefore they arrive at their destinations quicker and are less ripe when they do so; a.k.a. we are able to spend more quality time with our bananas before they slime out on us.
– Bananas in the U.S. are oftentimes kept in plastic while on the shelf–bad for the environment, but this explains the lack of premature ripening—Chiquita Banana recommends removing the plastic to ripen bananas at a quicker rate; Korean bananas are not wrapped in plastic so they are doing a lot of their ripening in transit or in the market before we are even able to meet them…hmm, kind of sad, they grow up so fast.
– Simple supply and demand à la U.S. standards: Americans demand more bananas and we receive more high-quality bananas delivered to our local stores at alarming rates. The average American eats about 33 lbs. of bananas per year—me, I probably tip the banana scales at an even 300 lbs.
So, while this doesn’t completely satisfy my hunger for answers, I will keep hunting down a solution to this slimy problem. Until then you can find me somewhere on a banana plantation in the Philippines eating my weight in the golden fruit of the gods….
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Kate Coffey is the founder of Forever Fascinated Blog, a vegan, the lucky co-parent to Miss Wednesday the Wonder Pup, a French speaker/lover of anything French, U.S. Army Wife who is on a mission to spread the good word about living life to its fullest!