Bananas do not look very appealing when they are bruised, and those brown, mushy parts of a banana might put you off, particularly if they are going really dark. Many people are unsure about eating bruised bananas, so let’s look at whether it is safe or not.
Can you eat bruised bananas? Yes, you can definitely eat bruised bananas, although you may find that the texture and the flavor are somewhat different from the unbruised flesh. Bruised bananas often taste a bit sweeter and mushier than normal bananas, but they aren’t bad for you at all.
What is Bruising on a Banana?
Bruising on a banana occurs when something has bumped the fruit and the cells are damaged. It can also happen as the banana goes past its peak ripeness and starts to degrade, but usually, it’s the result of impact damage.
Where the damage has occurred, the banana’s peel will not be as effective at keeping the inside of the fruit away from the oxygen, and the oxygen will start to break down the membranes and cell walls in that particular spot.
Over time, the bruising will grow and spread, affecting a bigger and bigger area. The fruit will start to oxidize.
This is what causes the funny brown color; the flesh is oxidizing. Think about what happens when you slice a banana and leave it exposed to the air for any noticeable time period; it starts to turn brown and squashy because the oxygen is breaking down the cell walls.
This is the same thing, but occurs even when the peel is on, because the peel has been damaged in places and is therefore not protecting the fruit as effectively as it was before.
Are Brown Bananas Bad For You?
There isn’t any evidence to suggest that brown bananas are bad for you, or that the oxidization process makes them of less value nutritionally. It is possible that some day, someone will find that this process is detrimental, but at present, there is no nutritional reason not to eat brown bananas.
Brown bananas aren’t bad for you, but if you don’t enjoy the brown bits, you can always cut them away or scoop them out of the banana using a spoon. Discard the mushy parts and enjoy the rest of the fruit as you would normally; it is perfectly fine to consume.
What if the Banana is also Mushy?
Bruises do generally go hand in hand with a somewhat mushier texture, because the cells have been damaged and will have lost a bit of their structure. This texture loss will increase as time passes. If you don’t mind the mushiness, it is usually fine to eat a bruised banana.
The skin will still be acting as a shield against bacteria, protecting the flesh and keeping it safe for consumption.
However, if the banana’s skin has been broken, it is possible for mold and other bacteria to enter the banana and start growing in the flesh, and this could lead to extreme mushiness, or sliminess, as well moldering fruit.
You should not eat a banana in these cases, although it’s unlikely that you would do so because the smell and texture would be good warning signs that it had gone off.
If you notice that the peel is also very thin and black across most of it, this is a further sign that the banana is no longer very good to eat because the peel isn’t protecting it from bacteria as effectively as it was.
The chances of getting sick from eating a bad banana are very slim, but if you are cautious about food, you might choose not to eat them at this stage. This is obviously something that only you can know; in most cases, the banana will be fine, but if you don’t feel comfortable eating it, it is better to discard it than take the risk.
What Can You Do About the Mushy Texture?
If you hate the texture but don’t mind the taste, there are a few solutions you can try. One of the best involves processing the banana into something like a smoothie; this will disguise the texture and allow you to just enjoy the taste.
There are also many desserts in which you can use up mushy bananas, or try something like banana bread. Alternatively, mash the bananas before using them on cereal or even try mashed bananas on toast.
The texture of bruised bananas is something that many people struggle with, so don’t worry if you find that you can’t eat them. There are many great and healthy options to avoid them going to waste.
Smoothies often really benefit from bananas, so they are a top way to use up bruised bananas and any other fruits that are starting to go past their best!
Are Brown Spots Always Bruising?
We all know it’s really easy to bruise a banana, but did you know that brown spots don’t always indicate that the banana has been bumped?
The brown spots on the peel can be the result of the banana’s natural ripening process, and may have nothing to do with how gently it has been treated. As the banana ages, it is perfectly normal for the color of its skin to change, and the riper it gets, the more likely these spots are to appear.
These are called “senescent spots” and will often have no impact on the inner flesh of the banana; when you peel the banana, you’ll often find that the insides are still fresh and firm and pale, as they would be normally.
Even bruising on the peel does not always affect the inside of the banana, so don’t worry about light brown marks.
Bruised bananas are perfectly safe to eat, and you shouldn’t worry if you find one in your fruit bowl. It won’t do you any harm, but it’s worth being aware that a bruised banana will ripen and turn bad much faster than an unbruised fruit.
Aim to use up bruised bananas quickly, either by eating them or by putting them in cooking. You can also cut out bruised or damaged areas.