It’s a question that’s asked more often than you would think, is it safe to eat bananas with green spots?
We’re used to seeing bananas with black spots and brown spots.
Then again, maybe even red spots, but you’re bound to feel a little uneasy about seeing green spots.
It’s just not the spotted way.
So, are these green spots harmful to your health?
Should you be throwing that banana away?
Allow me to reveal all.
It is perfectly safe to eat bananas with green spots. The only time you shouldn’t eat a banana is if you can either see or smell a fungal infection. Green spots are typically caused by bananas being “force-ripened.” This usually involves carbide (acetylene) or ethylene gas. Once the green spots or streaks turn yellow, the bananas are fully ripened, but they are still safe to eat either way. Green spots may also be caused by thrips or mosaic viruses. However, plant diseases are only harmful to other plants and not humans.
1. Have Your Bananas Been Force-Ripened?
Okay, so we’ve determined that it is safe to eat bananas with green spots.
But what exactly causes these imperfections?
One common reason is that your banana has been “force-ripened.”
Basically, the bananas have been commercially introduced to carbide, or more specifically, acetylene gas, or ethylene.
This is nothing to worry about as bananas naturally produce the hormone ethylene during the ripening process anyway.
You also have to understand that most bananas will be sprayed and fumigated during and after shipping.
So, if these bananas are still nowhere near ripe prior to hitting the stores and supermarkets, then the process is “forcefully” sped up.
You may even find in some cases that certain banana varieties seem to take forever to ripen without the introduction of ethylene.
Often this may cause the banana to look ripe on the outside but still requires some further time on the inside.
However, once the green spots or streaks turn yellow, they are fully ripened.
Either way, there’s nothing wrong with eating bananas with green spots.
You can usually tell if a banana has been force-ripened by looking at the stem.
If a banana has ripened naturally, the stalk will start to turn brown or black.
Whereas, if a banana peel shows signs of ripening, e.g., brown, black, or green spots, but has a green stalk, then gas has been added to speed the process along.
2. Have You Got an Attack of the Thrips?
Now, there are certain “natural” reasons for a banana having green spots.
But, no matter how scary they sound, your banana is still safe to eat.
It’s important to remember that a plant disease is only harmful to other plants and not to us as humans.
You’ll know if a banana is ready for the trash heap if you can see or smell any fungal activity.
And trust me, it will be extremely obvious, e.g., oozing pus, rotting, etc.
Anyway, back to the point, green spots.
Thrips, also known as thunder flies, can be a problem while bananas are growing.
These tiny winged insects will typically feed by sucking the sap from various plants, leaves, and flowers.
And bananas are no exception.
However, thrips can be controlled through mild insecticides and regular pruning.
With that being said, the damage they cause is perfectly harmless to humans.
3. What About the Not-So-Pretty Mosaic Virus?
Something else you should be aware of is the mosaic virus.
Once again, this probably sounds horrific, but it is not harmful to us.
The mosaic virus can be caused by aphids, mites, roundworms, and various other insects.
The virus can be spread by pollen, seeds, and weeds, as well as by contact with an infected plant.
Mosaic virus is particularly prevalent in tomato and cucumber plants, but bananas can also become infected.
But, I will repeat once more that this virus, while harmful to the plant, won’t cause us any ill effects.
So, I hope you understand that it is perfectly safe to eat bananas with green spots.
This is typically caused by forced ripening, plant and flower thrips, or mosaic virus.
However, none of these things can cause ill health or harm to humans.
If safety is one of your big concerns, you will also need to know the truth about bananas and fruit flies.