Introduction: Gel-O-Shot INSIDE a Banana!

Make a Vodka Gel-O-Shot INSIDE A SEALED Banana!

I'll show you how to use Osmotic Pressure to gel the inside of a banana.

This also works as a great magic trick for your next party.


Step 1: What You Need

You'll need:

  • An almost ripe banana
  • Some Vodka (Better quality = better results)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • Tupperware©-like plastic container
  • Refrigerator

The banana needs to be almost ripe in order for the skin to become semipermeable enough to allow the Vodka (ethanol) to pass through it via Osmotic Pressure.

Ethanol is a great solvent for biological molecules.

The sugar will encourage coagulation of the liquefied banana interior.

Refer to step 4 for a detailed scientific explanation.

Step 2: Put 'em Together

Add Vodka to the banana in the plastic container. Fill it up the entire banana is covered.

Pour in the sugar and mix it until it dissolves completely.

Step 3: Cool Your Jets!

Put the whole thing in the refrigerator for a few hours, uncovered.

It will take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, depending on the quality of the Vodka, amount of sugar, and the temperature of your fridge.

You'll have to try it a couple of times to get it right. If the banana is only partially gelled, leave it in for a couple more hours next time.

Don't leave it in there for too long, though. It will turn into a runny mess!

Step 4: Scientific Explanation

So what's going on inside that banana?

In this experiment we have both water (H2O) and Vodka (ethanol).

Because the peel of the banana is a semi permeable membrane, it allows the ethanol to pass through it. This is caused by the difference in the concentrations of salts inside and outside the peel.

High concentration of potassium and other salts inside the banana and the low concentration of salts outside the banana will encourage the ethanol to pass through the peel into the banana to equilibrate the system.

According to an article in Experimental Botony, 1980, volume 31, number 4, pages 975-982, the banana pulp will begin to leech electrolytes. The high concentration of potassium inside the banana will drop. This will also help the system come to equilibrium.

The coagulation of the inside of the banana is readily dependent on the temperature of the system.

Ethanol is a great solvent for biological molecules. It will dissolve some of the inside of the banana, but at the same time all the lipids will not go into solution. So it is no surprise that the ethanol makes the banana become 'softer.' It is essentially liquefying the inside.

In the process, the transition temperature inside the banana has raised above the temperature in the refrigerator. Dropping the temperature will cause the lipids and the ethanol solution to congeal.

Hence the 'gel-o-shot' like state.

For more information regarding Osmotic Pressure and Ionic Equilibrium, here are a couple of great books on the subject. (Via amazon.com)

The Osmotic Pressure of Biological Macromolecules by M.P. Tombs & Arthur R. Peacocke

Ionic Equilibrium: Solubility and pH Calculations by James N. Butler

Step 5: Enjoy!

Take it out of the fridge and check the firmness.

You should notice right away that the banana feels very gelatinous inside. If it's not, then the alcohol hasn't had enough time to pass through the banana membrane and begin to liquefy the inside.

The banana will also have browned quite a bit from the cold spell. That is normal and will happen to a plain banana as well. In this experiment, the browning is accelerated by the leeching of electrolytes.

Use a knife to cut a notch right at the base of the stem, then peel it open to reveal your tasty alcoholic treat!

Comments

author
ak142 (author)2011-08-04

How long does it stay like that in ambient temperature? Or does it need to be eaten right away?

The reason I ask, it would be a great prank to play on my coworker... who likes to eat his banana in the office in the middle of the morning... I'd just switch his banana with a jello banana. However, that would imply that it would sit there for a while in office temperature...

author
craig3 (author)2010-05-15

I see in the photo you poured the vodka into the sink, are you able to pour it back into the bottle and keep using it for other drinks, rather than just pouring it away?

author
pyelitegamerro76 (author)2007-07-25

osmosis is diffusion with water. i think the correct term you are looking for is diffusion.

if i remember correctly, this thing is not an osmotic pressure system. it is just normal osmosis. osmosis works by allowing ions to travel from an area of high concentration to travel to a area of low concentration to cause equilibrium. equilibrium is the "balancing" of the ions on both sides of the membrane (in this case the banana peel) im not sure of the EXACT science of what permeates the membrane in this expirament but im sure it is diffusion.

http://www.okc.cc.ok.us/biologylabs/Images/Cells_Membranes/diffusion.gif

osmotic pressure uses pressure to force ions from a lower concentration to a higher concentration diluting the higher concentration thus achieving equilibrium.
http://www.biologycorner.com/resources/osmosis.jpg

author
hc92 (author)pyelitegamerro762010-02-11

hmm, I always thought that osmosis involved liquids and diffusion was gases only?

author
scree (author)2010-02-05

 mmm tasty tasty science

author
ELF (author)2007-08-01

So I found a nice banana, yellow with a hint of small brown spots, no greenish tints anywhere. I poured a relatively cheap import vodka into an IKEA dish untill the banana was just covered (floating a little, the top of the banana was always just above the surface though) I then saturated the vodka with sugar, took about 4 big spoons, couldn't dissolve it all. I then placed the container in the refridgerator, which is only about 2 degress celsius. After about 24 hours I took it out, and peeled it... Still a normal banana. So what did I do wrong? :S

author
NK5 (author)ELF2007-08-01

That's odd. It could have been the cheaper Vodka. What proof was it? The higher the proof, the more ethanol content, which is what you need for this to work correctly.

author
ELF (author)NK52007-08-01

Proof? According to the label on the bottle it was 37,5% vol. alcohole...

author
reeding (author)ELF2009-12-10

 proof is twice the percent i.e. bacardi 151 is 151 proof but %75.5 

author
Shut Up Now (author)NK52009-02-02

so if u just want a gelled banana, u could use pure alcohol. just dont eat it.

author
knaggs (author)2009-01-31

sweet do they taste alright i like bananas and i like vodka

author
bpham07 (author)2009-01-05

capitals hurt the eyes

author
mwwdesign (author)2008-03-17

How many did you have before you wrote that?! ROFLMAO

author
Uru Wolf (author)mwwdesign2008-12-06

One too many it seems.

author
maker12 (author)2008-07-10

cool "alcholic bannas" good one

author
Dungeonbrownies (author)2008-06-19

that looks really effing disgusting, but pretty damn cool good job bro

author
rasta_bhoy (author)2008-04-23

sweet. now trig will be a lot better for me

author
Werth (author)2008-04-16

too... many... scientific... words...

author
arcticpenguin (author)2008-04-01

Interesting refrigerator contents; water, beer and banana shooter. Not a lot of nutritious clutter in the way, I like it! Got to admit the banana does look rather gross afterwards.

author
redirete (author)2008-02-21

Wash well the banana.... it can be full of Herbicide.
How ever on wikipediawikipedia you can read some chemicals that are not very safe...

author
mwwdesign (author)2008-02-21

Capitals mean you're shouting... Shhh...

author
ventsi (author)2007-11-17

nice one i remember my student years

author
Johnny_Rectifier (author)2007-10-28

It seems like a waste of Vodka to use that much for one banana. Can you use the same liquid for more than one? or does it go bad?

author
gowithflo (author)2007-09-06

the stuff you poured down the drain, was it gross tasting? inalcoholic? why did it go down the drain? would it be poissible to check and see if the banana gelled and if not the put it back in for awhile?

author
CameronSS (author)2007-08-15

Bizarre! If it weren't for that whole alcoholic bit I'd make one just to turn a banana into gelatin.

author
OffDisplay (author)2007-08-09

Does this work with any other fruits? Maybe the Kiwi or a peach? I really hate bananas.

author
ELF (author)2007-07-31

Nice istructable, and quite cool :)

author
T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-07-25

so... what's the science behind it?

author
NK5 (author)T3h_Muffinator2007-07-26

I've updated this instructable with the scientific explanation.

author
T3h_Muffinator (author)NK52007-07-26

Sweet!

author
NK5 (author)2007-07-24

Jello© is a registered trademark, which is why this is called Gel-O-Shot.

author
TheCheese9921 (author)NK52007-07-24

I really don't think jell-o will sue after all its pretty much free advertising

author
NK5 (author)TheCheese99212007-07-26

You would be surprised how aggressively companies protect their trademark. They've gone after popular bars to get them to quit advertising Jello Shots. They've also made it illegal to sing the US Happy Birthday song in restaurants, which is why Red Robin and such places have their own tune.

author
pyelitegamerro76 (author)2007-07-25

good instructable by the way, nice and clear, easy to follow, nice pics to. hmm looks a little wierd though (final product) i bet a nibble of that will put you over the legal BAC hehe. i would try it if i was of the drinking age

author
PetervG (author)2007-07-24

I'm not allowed to drink Vodka.

author
NK5 (author)PetervG2007-07-25

That's a shame. The ethanol (Vodka) is what makes this work.

author
erfonz (author)PetervG2007-07-24

That's what I was thinking too. Is there some way to do this without vodka?

author
LasVegas (author)erfonz2007-07-25

Yea... You could use Bacardi 151 or Wild Turkey. :)

author
NK5 (author)erfonz2007-07-24

Not that I know of. The Vodka and sugar are what makes this trick work.

author
TheCheese9921 (author)NK52007-07-24

All that wasted booze, lol I can't even drink

You should listen to You drink you drive you spill your beer by: NOFX

author
crapflinger (author)2007-07-25

does it still taste bannanaish once it's done? or...more like pure gelatenous vodka?

author
NK5 (author)crapflinger2007-07-25

It tastes like a Banana Jello© Shot!

author
NK5 (author)2007-07-25

I've just updated this instructable with a scientific explanation. Several people have emailed me asking for it. Enjoy.

author
pyelitegamerro76 (author)2007-07-25

would it work if you get all the alcohol out of the vodka? just heat it up on something outside and eventually the acohhol will all be gone

author
NK5 (author)pyelitegamerro762007-07-25

No. The Ethanol (Vodka) is required for liquefying the inside of the banana.

author
xrobevansx (author)2007-07-25

Wow...that was f***ing disgusting looking! Nice narration voice though. I feel calm and disgusted now.

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