The Ripening of Bananas

Color Stages of Bananas (source: Dole)

Bananas are harvest green and hard. After packaged inside the boxes and put into a refrigerated environment, bananas temporarily stop to ripen. When arriving at the destination, bananas could be ripened according to customers’ need and distance of retailer from warehouse. Usually in the warehouse, these requirements have to be fulfilled to provide efficient ripening: (1) the ripening room must be air tight to prevent the ethylene leaking out; (2) control the refrigerated temperature; (3) make sure there is enough space for air circulation to provide uniform temperature. Ethylene could be used to trigger the bananas to start producing their own ethylene introducing a natural ripening process. Bananas could be ripened in both boxes and pallets, but boxes should adopt ‘air stack’ way to allow enough air circulation for ethylene. Two common technologies for pallet ripening include curtain depressure (dedicated fans put in a depressure box produce pressure difference) and rooftop depressure (the depressure fans are located inside evaporators put over a central corridor).