Banana school, part 5

It's not easy to cut the bananas off the thick stem. I've tried. But the workers do it quickly and with precision.

It's not easy to cut the bananas off the thick stem. I've tried. But the workers do it quickly and with precision.

Getting ready for the market shelf

  • When the bananas are brought to the packing plant, they hang on stems that weigh 40-50 kilos. After the quality check they are prepared for packing.
  • In the end of every banana there’s a small, dry flower that has to be removed. If the flower is still there when the bananas reach the port, the quality controllers can refuse the entire box.
  • One worker’s task is to cut the bananas from the stem into smaller bunches called ”manos”, hands. To cut the bananas he uses a spoon-like knife called ”cuchareta” (cuchara is spoon in Spanish).

    The bananas are cut into clusters suitable for the market shelves before being thrown into the second basin.

    The bananas are cut into clusters suitable for the market shelves before being thrown into the second basin.

  • Then he throws the smaller bunches into the first of two basins of clean, running water kept in motion by a noisy engine.
  • When the bananas are in the first basin, their peel is checked. If they have spots, scratches or other defects they’re not export quality.
  • Then they are cut into clusters of 4-6 bananas, the kind we see on the market shelves, and thrown into the second basin. Individual bananas are called ”dedos”, fingers.
  • There, they stay for 15-20 minutes to be cleaned from dust and other dirt that may have entered through the holes in the protective bag, and to stop leaking sticky latex. Latex is a fluid inside unripe bananas, and it sticks like glue on clothes, tools and hands.
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