Ripening rooms are very important, not just
any room will suffice. A proper ripening room must have the following:
The room must be as air tight as possible to
prevent too much of the ethylene from leaking out.
The room must be properly insulated to be
able to control the temperature within a few degrees.
The room must have adequate refrigeration.
Bananas produce large quantities of heat when they are ripening. The
refrigeration equipment must have the capacity to accurately control the
The room may need heating equipment in order
to maintain proper room temperature in cold weather. Electric heating
elements have proven the most satisfactory and are often a part of the
cooling system. Open flame type heating should never be used.
The room must have adequate air circulation.
Because uniform pulp temperatures throughout the load are essential for
even ripening, the refrigerated air in the room must circulate at all
times and uniformly throughout the load. The room should be constructed so
that the air flow path from the cooler, through the load and back to the
cooler is unobstructed. Proper air flow patterns are of the utmost
The boxes of bananas should be "air
stacked". That is, the boxes should be offset to allow the air to
circulate among all the boxes. If the room is designed for "solid
stack" palletized ripening, there is no need to air stack.
Avoid "chilling" or
"cooking" the fruit. Bananas are very sensitive to temperatures.
Chilling will occur if the fruit is subject to temperatures below 56 degrees
F. for several hours. It causes the peel to have a smoky, dull grey
appearance. This may not show up for 18 to 24 hours after chilling occurs.
Cooked bananas result from excessively high temperatures. The peel will have
a brown to orange appearance. The fruit may be soft and have a short shelf
Maintain proper humidity levels. For best
ripening results, humidity should be 85 to 95 percent. If the humidity is
too low, wetting the floor of the room with water is often helpful.
When bananas are ripening, they give off
carbon dioxide which tends to build up in the rooms Carbon dioxide (CO2)
concentration above 1 percent will retard ripening. Therefore, it is
recommended to vent the rooms by opening the doors for 20 minutes every 12
hours, after the first 24 hours of ripening.
Bananas bruise easily, green or ripe. Careful
handling at all stages will reduce bruising and enable you to sell the
bananas for more money.