What Makes a Great Tasting Banana?
What makes Earl’s bananas so delicious?
Through our exclusive relationship with Mexican banana grower, Coliman Organic we bring you the freshest, highest quality bananas direct from the farm. Coliman Organic is a family run, environmentally conscious company, with over 50 years of experience growing bananas in the Colima area of Western Mexico. They belong to the ESR- Empresa Socialmente Responsible– program, a self-audited program to ensure honesty and business transparency, quality of life and care and preservation of the environment. ESR is a growing business trend in Mexico and is extending globally.
Coliman Organic picks and processes their bananas within 24 hours of shipping to ensure optimal freshness. The trip from Colima, MX to the US border takes about 3 days and from there it is a short, 2 day truck ride to Earl’s Organic Produce in San Francisco. With a total of only 5 days from the time they are picked until they arrive at our door we are able to provide a fresher, better quality banana to our customers. Bananas coming from South America can take up to 21 days to arrive by boat and are often subjected to an additional 10 day delay as they are processed through the port. The recent West Coast port disputes had created delays of up to 30 days or longer.
Bananas are a perennial herb and each year after the herb flowers and fruits it dies back to its roots. It takes 13 weeks from the time the banana plant starts to flower to the time of harvest. Synthetic fertilizers cannot be used on organic bananas to combat the many pests and insects found in tropical climates. Organic methods include using citrus and oil bases organically approved sprays, removing dead leaves to improve control of insect pests and diseases, picking weeds by hand or removing them with machetes, growing cover crops between bananas trunks, releasing sexual attractants to monitor caterpillars of moths and placing colored sticky traps to delay ant walking, control the cotton mealy bug and to capture white flies and microscopic insects called thrips.
Bananas are picked when they are still green and are then ripened to perfection upon arrival at their destination. Earl’s Organic Produce has the only organic banana ripening facility on the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, giving us complete control over our bananas from grower to the shelves of your local retail store. Our warehouse has 3 banana ripening rooms that allow us to provide consistent ripening and quality to specific customer needs. In the ripening process, natural ethylene gas is introduced to green bananas to trigger the bananas natural ripening progression, converting starches to sugar and slowly changing from green to yellow.
When bananas arrive at Earl’s Organic Produce they are assessed for quality and maturity. Our banana specialists first cut the banana in half to determine the maturity of the banana at harvest. The more mature the banana the faster the ripening process. Quality is checked by analyzing the color of the peel, and the color, firmness and temperature of the pulp. Other factors considered are the flow of starchy latex that seeps out of the cut green banana, crispness of the peel (which will become easier to peel as the fruit ripens) and lastly its fragrance. Bananas are then placed in one of our 3 pressurized banana ripening rooms. Air is forced through the pallets of banana boxes to uniformly control the desired pulp temperatures. When pulp temperatures reach at least 62° ethylene gas is introduced for 24 hours. The temperature is regulated until the desired ripeness is reached. Bananas are extremely sensitive to temperature and need to be monitored closely. Bananas ripen in color stages ranging from all green to yellow with green tips, to all yellow and finally yellow with brown sugar spots.
The taste and texture of a banana is directly related to its stage of ripeness. A riper banana will have a higher sugar level and will taste sweeter with a softer texture. Besides tasting great, a fresher banana ripens more consistently and evenly and holds their beautiful yellow color longer. This means a longer shelf life in your grocery store and on your kitchen counter.
Bananas Are Good For You!
* One banana contains only 110 calories
* No cholesterol
* Full of potassium, vitamins B6 and C
* Healthy carbs give you energy
* Eat before exercising to prevent cramps