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I've noticed that a banana in the refrigerator will turn pitch black in just a few hours. Why is this?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Your fridge speeds production of polyphenols, which speeds the blackening process. Unrefrigerated bananas ripen by ethylene gas which will also eventually turn them black, but the cold short circuits that process.

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And there you have it! Although I'm curious how it speeds production of the polyphenals since normally cold will slow any sort of chemical process. Any ideas? –  Michael at Herbivoracious Aug 20 '10 at 1:18
I think the answer is something along the "blah, blah, blah oxidation, blah, blah" lines. I know that the same kind of chemical compounds are produced when aging whiskey in oak and then oxidized. I don't think anybody has a study on bananas specifically but I would guess that the cold does retard the chemical process that retards the production of the polyphenals in the first place, thus letting the compound that makes them oxidise first. –  sarge_smith Aug 20 '10 at 1:56
Actually heres a paper but it's behind a pay wall. sorry. –  sarge_smith Aug 20 '10 at 1:59
how to know when you cannot eat a black banana? -Well, it is getting long comment. I moved the question here. –  user2954 Jul 30 '11 at 17:26

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