Banana is the most popular fruit in Mauritius. It ranks fourth among fruits that are grown in the world. Bananas are appreciated for their flavour, taste and nutritional value. The ripe fruits are rich in minerals (potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium) and also contain protein and vitamin C. Ripe fruits have a short shelf life and they lose their market value rapidly while overripe bananas are considered as unmarketable and can go to waste.
With a view to add value and to reduce wastage, ripe and overripe fruits can be processed into puree. Agribusiness opportunities exist as banana puree has a wide application in the processing and baking industries.
Selection of fruits
It is essential to use ripe (yellow coloured peel with brown freckles) and overripe fruits (lightly brown coloured peel with dark spots) that are free from pests and diseases for processing. In order to avoid crown rot which is very common in banana fruits, growers or processors must follow recommended post-harvest practices. Any diseased fruit should be discarded as this can cause spoilage of the puree. Strict hygiene practices should be followed to ensure high quality product. Puree can be produced from Cavendish, Mamoul and Gingeli banana types.
Overripe Cavendish Bananas
Overripe Mamoul Bananas
Overripe Gingeli Bananas
Ingredients required for preparation of banana puree
• Banana fruits • Citric acid • Ascorbic acid
- Detach the bananas individually, taking care not to expose the banana pulp
- Wash the fruits in potable water
- Reduce microbial load by dipping the bananas for 15 minutes in chlorinated water (30 ml of sodium hypochlorite solution of 3.25% active chlorine for every 5 litres of water)
- Rapidly wash the fruits under filtered water
- Blanch the fruits in a water bath or a large pot of hot water
Blanching of fruits in large pot
To blanch, place the fruits in blanching basket and dip them in the hot water (90 0C to 100 0C)
Blanching time varies according to banana type and stage of ripening (overripe fruits require less time than ripe fruits
|Banana type||Blanching time (minutes)|
|Cavendish||8 - 10|
- Cool the bananas immediately in filtered water at ambient temperature
- Peel the bananas as rapidly as possible and cover the container to limit browning of pulp through exposure to air particularly for the Cavendish type which undergoes oxidative browning (pulps turn brown when exposed to oxygen present in the surrounding air)
Cooling of fruits
Blanchedfruits after cooling
Fruits from Cavendish type absorb some water during blanching. The accumulated water should be drained after peeling.
- Weigh the banana pulp
- Determine quantity of citric acid (0.25% w/w
i. e. 2.5 g for every 1 kg pulp) and ascorbic acid (0.025% w/w i.e. 0.25 g for every 1 kg of pulp) required and add to the banana pulp
- Mash the bananas coarsely using large ladles if the fruits are to be pureed in a blender
- Blend the whole bananas into a smooth puree if using a homogeniser
Bananas mashed using a blender
Blending of bananas using a homogeniser
For Mamoul type, if required, water (5 -10% v/w i.e. add 50 -100 ml of filtered water for every 1 kg of bananas) can be added to obtain a smooth puree.
Fill the puree rapidly and carefully in:
- Aseptic packages – Vacuum bags or Metallised PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) bags using largemouth food grade plastic funnel (at least 5 cm diameter).
The puree can be tilled in 500 g to 3000 g bags (according to market requirements).
Air pockets cause localised browning thereby reducing product appeal. They must be eliminated by turning a spoon through the puree; the vacuum bags are slightly pressed to level the puree and to eliminate any surface air pockets in the bags which are then sealed.
Sealing of banana puree in vacuum bag
Banana puree in vacuum bag
2. Polypropylene containers of 500 g – 1000 g for sale in supermarkets or for household use.
The puree must be filled to the brim to avoid any air gap which may cause surface browning of the product.
Banana puree in polypropylene containers
Yield of Puree
|Banana Type||Yield (%)|
Characteristics of Banana Puree
|Banana Type||°Brix*||pH||Vitamin C (Indicative ascorbic acid) mg/L||Consistency (Bostwick cm/30 sec)||Colour of puree||Flavour (banana flavour strength)|
|Cavendish||16||4.3||50||0.5 - 1.5||Yellow||Strong|
|Gingeli||15||3.9||75||0.5 - 1.5||Cream||Good|
* °Brix is the Total Soluble Solids in the puree and it is measured using a refractometer.
Shelf life of banana puree at -18 0C
- 9 months for Cavendish type (susceptible to color change
particularly around air pockets)
- 12 months for Gingeli and Mamoul
- As filling for pastries (pie and Danish pastry),
- As an ingredient (up to 40% of puree) in the preparation of cakes and muffins
- In jam production
- As an ingredient to prepare eggless cakes
- In the preparation of smoothies (mixed with fruits like mango & papaya)
- In pancake mix
The puree can be mixed with pancake batter up to 50% or it can be used to prepare a sweet banana sauce which can be spread over the pancakes
- With plain yoghurt (up to 35% of puree)
- In beverage production
- As a fruit puree (pure or mixed with fruits) on industrial scale
- As a dessert