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Author Topic: Which is a better buy - A small banana or, a large one?  (Read 6158 times)

Henry Risha

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Henry Risha  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Chris,
 
Which is a better buy? A small banana or, a large one? Which one has the least skin?
 
Regards,
 
Henry.

What do you think?


 

Offline Don_1

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Which is a better buy - A small banana or, a large one?
« Reply #1 on: 12/11/2009 12:34:46 »
I don't know if anyone has ever put this to a practical test, but I would think that the skin to fruit* ratio my be slightly higher for larger bananas, since the skin does appear to thicken as the banana grows.

Whether this difference is appreciable when it come to value for money, I wouldn't like to hazard a guess.

One thing is for sure though, if you live in the UK, or any other country where the banana is not grown, the fruit* you get will have been picked while still green, then shipped to a banana ripener in your country. Because they are ripened off the tree*, they are not as tasty as those ripened on the tree and consummed immediately after being picked.

*Bananas 'trees', as they usually referred to, are actually a herbaceous plant, not a tree. The banananananananana (sorry, got a bit carried away there!) can be referred to as either a fruit or a herb.
 

Offline neilep

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Which is a better buy - A small banana or, a large one?
« Reply #2 on: 12/11/2009 14:03:42 »
I worked on a kibbutz when I was 17...I climbed date trees and bagged banana trees/plants......which was nice !
 

Offline Kerry

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Which is a better buy - A small banana or, a large one?
« Reply #3 on: 12/11/2009 14:23:36 »
How interesting - I didn't know the banana 'tree' was a herbaceous plant!
 

Offline neilep

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Which is a better buy - A small banana or, a large one?
« Reply #4 on: 18/11/2009 16:50:55 »
If one assumes, for the sake of argument, the length of a banana equals 5 times its diameter (L=5D), then the surface of the cylinder

= 2(π/4)D + πDL = (π/2)D + πD5D = πD + 5πD = 5πD. 

The volume of the cylinder = 2(π/4)DL = πD5D = 2πD. 

The ratio of surface/volume = (5πD) / (2πD) ~ 2/D. 

Thus, for larger sizes (D), theres less surface per volume (2/D), meaning less "unedible" skin per volume (although the skin can be eaten).  Also, the skin contains esterified fatty acids, which can be used as a skin lotion to treat problem areas such as psoriasis.

However, as Don mentioned, the skins of larger bananas do seem disproportionately thicker than for smaller varieties.  Plus, small varieties seem "stubbier", that is, L/D seems smaller, giving the smaller fruits a lower surface per volume. 

This is a tough question to answer.  I think someone needs to buy both varieties, separate skin from fruit, weight each separately, compute averages, determine skin/fruit ratios for the varieties, and factor in the price per pound.  Ultimately determine the actual cost per pound of fruit.  Any takers?

How do "banana ripeners" work??

Perhaps ewe can get a grant or some sponsorship !...this could be important work ! ;)
 

Offline Don_1

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Which is a better buy - A small banana or, a large one?
« Reply #5 on: 18/11/2009 16:55:08 »
I think you may be told to 'stop monkeying around'.
 

Offline Geezer

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Which is a better buy - A small banana or, a large one?
« Reply #6 on: 18/11/2009 20:54:11 »
How do "banana ripeners" work??

I didn't know there was such a thing, but bananas do give off a lot of ethylene (oficially ethene). Fruit and vegetables ripen quickly when exposed to ethylene. The green plastic bags they advertise on the TV for keeping fruit and vegetables from spoiling contain an agent that neutralizes ethylene.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethylene
"Plants can be induced to flower either by treatment with the gas in a chamber, or by placing a banana peel next to the plant in an enclosed area."
 

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Which is a better buy - A small banana or, a large one?
« Reply #6 on: 18/11/2009 20:54:11 »

 

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