Optimal quality of banana
Important quality characteristics of bananas are shape, colour, brightness of the skin, and texture and flavour of the pulp. During the ripening process of the banana several changes occur. Tissue starts to soften, starch is degraded into sugars in pulp and skin, the skin becomes light green and then yellow, and the characteristic banana aroma is produced. Diseases and disorders should be prevented as much as possible. The minimum requirements for good quality are: intact, healthy, clean, fresh in appearance, firm, (practically) free of damages, free of malformation, with the stalk intact and free from foreign smell and / or taste.
Quality aspects of banana
General appearanceThe consumer demands fresh-looking and attractive bananas. Bananas must have sufficient colour development to be acceptable to the final consumer. A grey or dull colour can be a symptom of unfavourable conditions in the previous chain. The fruit should not have serious abrasions or other surface defects. As the banana ripens, the shape of the fingers become rounder and the flesh changes from white to yellowish.
Skin colourBananas are often divided into 7 colour stages which represent 7 degrees of ripeness. On this scale, 1 is dark green, 2 is light green, 3 is more green than yellow (or half green half yellow), 4 is more yellow than green, 5 is yellow with green tips, 6 is full yellow, and 7 is yellow with sugar spots. Stage 5 is considered by most consumers to be the best ripeness stage for purchase.
FlavourImportant characteristics for the banana flavour are texture, mouthfeel, aroma and sweetness. They all contribute to the consumer's final judgement. Loss of firmness is one of the most obvious texture changes during ripening. The flesh softening starts from the fruit centre and progresses outwards. As bananas ripen, starch is converted into sugar and they become sweeter.
Disorders and diseasesA good quality banana may have no or only minor defects and is in any case free of rotting. Skin injury reduces appearance and also provides access routes for pathogens that lead to decay. Chilling injury of bananas can lead to dull and grey unattractive bananas. Cutting the fruit can reveal internal bruising. Crown wrapping film is used as a method to protect the crown from rot and mould development.