Best of the Bronx: Hunts Point banana ripening
News 12 The Bronx got a special look inside a family business in Hunts Point that uses pressurized rooms to ripen bananas for store shelves.
The Georgallas family business rose from humble beginnings during the Great Depression. Now, Banana Distributors of New York is a Bronx staple, importing not-yet-ripe bananas from Central and South America and "tricking" the fruit into ripening via pressurized rooms.
The state-of-the-art rooms control factors such as humidity, temperature and the gas mixture inside. An ethylene gas is what's used to ripen the fruit. Bananas let off a natural ethylene, so the additional gas expedites the ripening process.
Customers request bananas in various stages of ripeness, which determines shelf life.
The family says that without their process, it would be impossible to get bananas into the New York area.