Does putting bananas in the fridge make them poisonous?

08 June 2008

Question

Does putting bananas in the fridge make them poisonous? My family have told me this but I’m sure it’s a myth.

Answer

This is a bit of an old wives' tale. I've found it repeated elsewhere as well: people going, "My mother said I should never put bananas in the fridge or I'm going to die!" Basically, this is not true. Bananas are not poisonous and they do get refrigerated along their journey from wherever they grow, tropical places to you. Bananas produce a gas called ethylene or ethene and this is used to ripen fruit. So if you've got some hard fruit and you want to ripen it up stick it in a bag with a ripe banana and it will ripen nice and quickly. One thing that will happen with bananas in the freezer is that they will go black. Bananas have really sensitive cells in their skin, and so get damaged very easily below about 12 degrees centigrade. They release enzymes and this is what causes that black oxidation. The banana inside will be fresh and lovely!

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