Optimal Banana Ripeness?

A quick question: What is the optimal ripeness to eat a banana?

Let’s break banana ripeness down to 5 stages, only 3 of which I expect anyone to choose.
1. Green
2. Yellow-green
3. All yellow
4. Yellow, with few brown spots
5. Brown

Anecdotally, I’ve heard most people strongly defend either #2 or #4, with actually fewer people choosing #3, which is kinda backed up by this small survey. Also, this summary describes the taste differences of ripe vs. less-ripe bananas, but doesn’t mention any nutritional difference. I heard someone argue that the slightly brown bananas are actually more nutritious because the nutrients from the skin have gone into ripening the banana fruit itself. I haven’t found anything to back this up, but it sounds rather logical, and I know other skinned fruits and vegetables contain many of their nutrients in the skins/peels.

My personal preference? I like bananas a lot and will eat them at any of the three middle stages. After hearing the nutritional theory above, I figured there wasn’t much harm in trying it, especially if it turned out to be true. So I’ve gotten in the habit of letting bananas ripen a little longer until they’re yellow with a few brown spots.

2 thoughts on “Optimal Banana Ripeness?

  1. John Randall

    very “over ripe” bananas, after they’ve turend from brown to black and are all gooey inside, are perfect for baking with … mash them in a measuring cup then fill to the level of water indicated and substitute for water … this makes very rich cakes … any cake but especially banana, apple, and similar cakes … lemon juice instead of water makes for especially tart and delicious citrus cakes, such as orange and lemon cakes …

    John Randall
    john (at) katharsis (dot) net

  2. Anonymous

    Does anyone know the actual nutritional values of bananas at differing stages of ripeness.. I heard that more vitamins are obtained at the slighly greener stage. This makes sense because the taste of the fruit resembles the skin alot more, tasting like straight vitamins at this stage.


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