If you’ve been wandering around the internet these past few months you’ve undoubtedly seen the hype surrounding peeling a banana backwards. Yeah, that’s what 2017 has brought us: the revelation that we should peel bananas from the other end and we’ve been doing it wrong for all of out existence.
Supposedly, when monkeys peel bananas, they do it from the tip towards the stem, and not from the stem to the tip like we humans have done all our lives. And that shows that peeling a banana backwards is more efficient, and cleaner, and works better and will give you a healthy smile and get rid of your credit card debt. Well, at least it will for the guy who made the first youtube banana peeling hype video on the subject, I guess.
Being a citizen of an honest-to-god banana republic, I know my stuff on bananas. And, this past few week I finally gave into the banana peeling issue, and decided to come to a conclusion on the subject. If only to end the debate in my head on whether I should be peeling one way or the other. Living in a true banana republic means I have a permanent stock of these things, at prices you wouldn’t believe. So I do a lot of peeling… might as well find the most efficient way to do it.
The banana peeling trick everyone’s talking about
To put it shortly, here’s the banana peeling trick everyone’s been talking about. Hold the banana from the stem (the long part where it attaches to the other bananas), so that in the air you have the tip that normally points down. Pinch the tip, when you do, the tip will split and the banana starts to peel. Then eat as normal.
Sounds simple enough. So, does it work?
To tell you the truth, I’ve probably eaten 5 or 6 bananas these past few days, peeling them one way, peeling them the other way, to see if there’s a difference. And quite frankly, it makes no difference as long as your banana is good and yellow, and one of the firmer varieties (like the Earth banana). And in certain cases I found that peeling a banana backwards if it’s ripe, can actually make a bigger mess. That little spot on the end where you’re supposed to pinch? On some bananas it’s thicker, and the thing doesn’t split right. In the end you have to rip off the thing, and your thumbnail gets banana peel all over, plus you mush up the inside of the banana.
And, unexpected detail: bananas are actually more stable if you peel from the stem. When the banana’s growing, gravity pulls down on it and pushes the fruit against the hanging tip. That makes the banana attach to the tip better than to the stem. Due to gravity, the fruit actually separates from the stem most of the time, creating a void there.
That means if you’re peeling a banana backwards, when you get to the last bite, it’ll probably fall out of the peel. Whereas if you do it the traditional way, the last piece will stick to the peel. I lost a couple of last bites due to them falling out of the peel, a problem I never had when I peeled from the stem.
What about greener bananas?
If your supermarket carries imported bananas (versus locally sourced ones) you’ll probably buy them green or slightly green, since bananas can’t be shipped when they’re ripe. And when you get them home, the first couple of days you’ll most likely be eating less than ripe. You know, those bananas that have a slight green haze, are a bit harder to peel, and you know they’re not quite there yet.
These less-than-ripe bananas are a real disaster to peel with the “monkey method”. Since the peel doesn’t break as easy, if you try to pinch the tip, it’s not going to split. In this case, the traditional peeling method is the way to go. The stem gives you some real good leverage that you can use to break the peel and get it started: no banana is a match for a good stem-end twist.
So, there you go. Monkey banana peeling trick? Not really as useful as it sounds… take it from someone who knows about these things. Peeling a banana from the stem is the way to go: better leverage, cleaner peel, and the last bite won’t fall out and end up on the ground.
And in case you’re wondering, why do monkeys peel bananas backwards? Probably because that’s the only way they know: monkeys aren’t exactly famous for developing new techniques to replace old ones. And monkeys probably don’t care if they make a mess peeling a banana anyway, they don’t have to get back to the office like we do.