Bad Bananas

Since last summer I have largely been eating a healthier diet than I used to.

Well… sort of. The only difference has been that my traditionally crap diet has simply been added to with an apple and a banana each day, plus I now put some tomato and cucumber on my sandwiches that I make for lunch.

Not really revolutionary, but it probably takes me up to about three of the five a day I’m supposed to have. Better than nothing. I can’t say I feel any better for it, but maybe the difference will be in the long run. Or perhaps the apple every day will help ruin my teeth much sooner than they would naturally. Great.

But my big annoyance is with bananas, and the amazing variety of quality that you can get with them from week to week. Sometimes they can be green and refuse to turn yellow, sometimes they’ll start yellow and stay yellow, others they will be yellow one day and all brown the next, some will be soft, and once I had some truly disgusting ones which were hard and tough in the middle but soft on the edges. Made me feel ill.

The most interesting difference, however, is in how long they last after the day I buy them – and this variety seems to come from whether I buy them from a supermarket or from a fruit and veg shop. If I buy them from Tescos or Asda, despite a somewhat bumpy journey home, they are almost certain to last a good five or six days before they are quite brown (though still edible).

However, if I buy them from the fruit and veg shop, to reach the same level of brownness takes about two or three days.

There have always been suspicions, probably true, that supermarkets do something to make their fruit last longer. Irradiating fruit is supposed to extend the shelf life of products. The thing is, these are the exact same bananas from the same supplier (Chiquita) whether or not I buy from Tesco or from the fruit and veg shop. Even if they are roughly the same yellowness when I buy them, the fruit and veg ones go brown much sooner.

I could do with doing a proper test, side by side, to be certain of my conclusion, but I’m pretty sure of it now anyway. I’ve been observing this difference for many months now. If it’s not down to the irradiation, what else could it be? Both sets of bananas get to live in the exact same conditions in this house, on my window-ledge, so the conditions of the experiment are as controlled as they can be in such amateur science…

Perhaps another reason to be suspicious of big supermarkets? Well, I already am. But then again, I don’t do anything about it. See me with my Tesco clubcard? Proper hypocrite, me.

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