The Real Reason Bananas Have Those Sticky Strings

Photographed by Jackie Alpers.
We love bananas. So much so that we will forgive them when they're at their polar worsts: overripe and mushy brown or underripe and elastic green. Because here's the thing, both of those states can be remedied. Bananas that are past their prime can be spread on some toast or thrown in baking batter for added sweetness. And the ones that aren't quite ready? Ah, we'll just eat them anyways smothered in nut butter! But if there's one thing we simply cannot seem to forgive the smooth yellow favorite for, it's those damn dangly strings. Because no matter what state the fruit is in, there's no escaping them.
We've been there; You picking your ideal one from the bunch, start the peeling process, and then bam — attack of the clingy white strings. What are they? Where did they come from? Why are they haunting our bananas, our hands, our kitchen counters and floors?! But before we slide too far into the dramatics (too late?), there's actually some pretty uplifting news behind this 'nana nuisance.
According to an interview on The Huffington Post with Dr. Nicholas D. Gillitt (a Ph.D. in physical and inorganic chemistry), these messy threads are called phloem bundles and they provide necessary nutrients to our 'nanners. When questioned about the possibility of developing the fruit without these sticky strands, Gillitt clapped back, "Yes it is potentially possible, but if the phloem bundles are necessary for the adequate disposition of nutrients throughout the plant, and are not truly bothersome, what would be the driver?" Touché, Dr. Gillitt, touché. Now that this fruit knowledge has been dropped on us, we fully plan to push forward and embrace our bananas, phloem bundles and all. Because at the end of the day, we'd rather have an enriching 'nana then no 'nana at all.
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