Can you eat a banana when it’s black?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question: “Can you eat a banana when it’s black?” We will also discuss why bananas have different colors or textures, the benefits or harm caused by the ingestion of that kind of food and how you can delay a banana from getting rotten. 

Can you eat a banana when it’s black?

Yes, you can eat a banana when it’s black and it’s even better for your health. Banana is a asian fruit, more specifically from Indochina, with a large distribution all over the world. It’s available in different types and, for this particular article, we’ll focus on the cavendish banana, the yellow one.

How and why do bananas become darker?

Bananas become darker and, eventually black, because of the action of the plant hormone ethylene, which acts by maturing the fruit. An immature or green banana is full with starch, having a so-so flavor. However, the darker the color of the banana, the sweeter the flavor, because the starch becomes sugar.

Fun fact: It is important to notice that ethylene is not the only thing that acts in the fruit ripening. The temperature and the presence of other mature fruits can also help the bananas to become black and sweeter, by releasing an even higher amount of plant hormones. That’s how they ripe the fruits in greenhouses, by the way.

Substances like enzymes are also present in the black bananas, but more specifically on the peel. That part of the banana contains a substance called tannin, a polyphenol substance that interacts with the polyphenoloxidase (PPO) enzyme, leading the peel to be dark brown or Black.

What to do if you don’t like black bananas?

If you don’t like black bananas or if you want your fruits to last longer, you can store them in the refrigerator (+- 4 ºC) instead of room temperature. However, we should warn you that it can change the taste of your bananas, decreasing the sweet taste. You could also lose a lot of the health benefits already cited.

If you don’t want your bananas to be black, but you aren’t able to keep them in low temperatures, you can squeeze a citrus fruit, such as lemon, above the banana. That will give your fruit a few more days, because it can delay the process of oxidation.

What to do if you want your bananas to be darker?

If you want your bananas to be darker in the fastest way, you should wrap up the fruit in aluminum paper and wait for a few hours, leaving at room temperature. It makes the banana have more contact with ethylene, maturing faster. You could also leave it close with other mature fruits and vegetables such as apples and tomatoes and wait for the ethylene to act.  

What are the health benefits of black bananas?

The health benefits of eating black bananas include having a bigger source of potassium and magnesium in comparison with an immature or yellow banana, helping in the fight against chronic diseases.  A black banana has a higher content of fiber, relieving constipation as consuming. It’s also a natural antacid, preventing heartburn.

By consuming black bananas, you can even prevent different types of cancer, as it has a higher content of antioxidants as the chlorophyll from the peel breaks down. The antioxidants break the major cause of stress in our bodies: the oxidants (hydrogen peroxide being the most common).

Black bananas are also the best choice for you to make sweet recipes, such as pies, cakes, breads and ice creams because of its better texture, being softer than an immature banana. The sweet flavor of a black banana can also help you to avoid putting more sugar in your cooking.

How to tell the difference between a black and rotten banana?

You can tell the difference between a black and a rotten banana because when it’s rotten, in other words, contaminated by a fungus or bacteria, a banana can show white or green spots along the peel, also having a strong, sugary and moldy smell. It can cause stomach ache and nausea as you consume, so be careful.


In this brief guide, we have discussed the question: “can you eat a banana when it’s black?” We have also talked about the different colors and textures of a banana, the benefits or harm caused by the ingestion of that kind of food and how you can prevent a banana from getting rotten.

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.