When serving my 12-year old nephew and his playmate bananas with their lunch sandwiches, I asked the boys, “Who’s smarter – you or a monkey?”
Monkeys peel bananas from the blossom end, not the stem end. Pinch the little brown tip between your thumb and forefinger, and peel back the skin toward the stem end.
The boys tried it, and this is what they found:
1) Bananas are easier to open from the bottom.
2) They don’t require a slit to start peeling without crushing the fruit, and best of all…
3) The strings come off with the peel rather than being stuck to the banana, requiring an extra step to avoid eating that bitter part.
I wanted to show a picture of a cute chimp grinning (like a banana) while eating a banana, but this photograph by Spatz of how bananas grow on the tree is so beautiful, I chose to share this with you rather than a stereotypical picture.
WASH FRUIT BEFORE PEELING
Wash bananas before peeling them! Why? Because your bare hands are going to transfer pesticides and bacteria from the skin to the fruit when you take the fruit in the same hands that just picked up the banana and peeled it.
Even if you buy organic bananas that are pesticide free, banana slugs, banana spiders, the human hands that cut and packed the bananas, and the human hands that unpacked and shelved the bananas have been all over them. Need I remind you bananas do not grow in countries with the highest level of public health and hygiene awareness? There are no “Wash your hands after using the bathroom and before returning to work” signs in banana plantations.
I forgot to mention banana rats.
Dr. Katz, who writes for O magazine, says all fruits should be washed under running cold water. Special food washing detergents are unnecessary. On thick and rough-skinned fruit, like oranges, he says “Use a Brush,” and make sure you run that brush through the dishwasher regularly.
OK, that’s a new one on me. I rinse off grapefruit, oranges and avocados before cutting or peeling them, but I didn’t think about getting into the dimples with a brush. Yikes! That’s more work.
But you’ll remember it this way: whatever has touched the skin part that you’re about to remove and throw away will be transferred by your own hands to the naked fruit you’re about to touch with those same hands as you prepare and eat it. Picture the sanitary and health conditions of all the people who may have touched that fruit–wash that off!
Of course, monkeys don’t wash their bananas, but they eat lice picked out of each other’s fur, too!
Photo used by permission of the photographer Spatz through WikiCommons