When life gives you lemons, have a banana!
This may be one of the worst excuses you can give yourself to enjoy the creamy fruit, but who cares? As long as we get to have some bananas.
Besides being tasty, this aromatic, tropical fruit is loaded with vitamins B6 and C, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and folate. Bananas are also a rich source of dietary fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements, lower cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy weight. Therefore, bananas are a must-have fruit for your breakfast or a midday snack.
But, as much as we enjoy fresh bananas, most of us give very little thought on how to store them the right way.
It’s common practice to leave a bunch on the kitchen counter and allow the bananas to ripen. Many times, a few will become overripe and turn black and mushy before you eat the whole bunch. On the other hand, you may buy a greener bunch hoping to make them last longer, only to find they never seem to ripen to the fullest.
Storing bananas the right way depends on the stage at which you are storing them. Fully ripe bananas will do better when refrigerated, while the greener ones need to be kept at room temperature to allow the natural gas ethylene, produced by the fruit, to aid the ripening process. Even if your bunch has passed the ripening stage, overripe bananas can also be preserved and used later.
To help you enjoy your next bunch of bananas, we bring to you five ways to store bananas (ripe, unripe and overripe) the right way.
- # RIPE BANANAS
- Method 1: Wrap the Stems with Plastic Wrap
- Method 2: Freeze Sliced Bananas
- Method 3: Refrigerate Whole Bananas
- # UNRIPE BANANAS
- Method 1: Store Bananas in a Brown Paper Bag
- # OVERRIPE BANANAS
- Method 1: Freeze Whole Bananas
# RIPE BANANAS
Method 1: Wrap the Stems with Plastic Wrap
Ripe bananas are bright yellow in color with black freckles on them. An easy way to preserve ripe bananas is to wrap the crown (the thick woody stem) of the bunch with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will prevent the stem from giving off the ethylene gas that causes the fruit to ripen. In fact, you can also use plastic wrap to store fresh mint leaves for longer.
You can either wrap the whole crown or separate the bananas and wrap the individual stems with plastic to store bananas.
Method 1a. Wrap the crown of the banana bunch with plastic wrap
- Cut out a small piece of plastic wrap.
- Tightly wrap the plastic around the thick, black stem of the bunch.
- You can either store the sealed bananas at room temperature or place them in the refrigerator.
- When you wish to eat a banana, open the plastic seal, break off a banana and reseal the batch in the plastic.
Method 1b. Wrap an individual banana stem with plastic wrap
- Use a knife to separate all the bananas from the bunch.
- Wrap the stem of each banana with a small strip of plastic wrap.
- Store them in the refrigerator or leave them on the countertop.
Storing bananas this way will extend their shelf life by 3 to 4 days up to 1 week, depending on how ripe they were when you bought them.
Note: Since all the bananas in the bunch will ripen at different times, sealing them individually will also prevent the overripe bananas from ripening the others faster.
Method 2: Freeze Sliced Bananas
If you don’t want to eat up all the bananas at once but want them handy for your midnight hunger pangs, then try freezing them. Ripe bananas stay good in the freezer for 3 to 4 months, as the cold temperature slows down the aging process. You can thaw them later and enjoy them as a snack or add them to a smoothie.
Things you’ll need:
- Plastic wrap
- Parchment paper
- Chopping board
Step 1. Peel and slice all the bananas
- Peel the skin off all the bananas.
- Cut the bananas into thin slices.
Step 2. Spread the slices on a baking sheet & freeze them
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the slices on the paper. Do not stack the slices, as they will clump up once frozen.
- Cover the slices with plastic wrap. Pull the wrap over the edges of the baking sheet to seal it so that no air goes in. This will prevent the bananas from browning.
- Pop the tray in the freezer for 2 hours.
Step 3. Transfer the slices to an airtight container & store it in the freezer
- Retrieve the baking sheet from the freezer.
- Remove the plastic wrap and use a pair of tongs to transfer the frozen slices to an airtight container.
- Place the container back in the freezer to store bananas.
Frozen bananas will stay good for 3 to 4 months. You can also use this method to store fresh mushrooms.
Method 3: Refrigerate Whole Bananas
If you find the whole slicing and freezing process very cumbersome, you can just seal the bananas in ziplock bags and refrigerate them until needed. While they may not stay good for months, they will keep fairly well for over 1 week. However, make sure that the bananas are fully ripe. If they are on the greener side, the cold temperature can halt the ripening of the fruit.
Step 1. Place each banana in a ziplock bag
- Place a fully ripe banana in a ziplock bag and seal it. It’s best to seal individual bananas in separate bags, so they will not influence the ripening of the others.
Step 2. Remove the air from the bags & refrigerate them
- Insert a straw in one side of the ziplock bag, as shown in the image above. Let the remaining part stay sealed.
- Suck out all the air from the bag with your mouth.
- Remove the straw and seal the bag completely.
- Do this with each bagged banana. Place the vacuum-sealed bananas in the fresh zone or crisper of your refrigerator.
Bananas stored this way will stay good for more than 1 week.
# UNRIPE BANANAS
Method 1: Store Bananas in a Brown Paper Bag
If you are the only one in the house who eats bananas, you might buy an unripe bunch to make them last longer. However, unripe bananas are essentially starch and not delightful to eat. To speed up the ripening, you can store them in a warm area inside a brown paper bag. The bag will trap the ethylene gas and ensure faster ripening.
Single-Step Method: Put the bananas in a brown paper bag & place it in a warm place
- Place 2 or 3 bananas inside a brown paper bag. If you have more bananas, make several batches. If you have just 1 banana, place an apple or a pear along with it in the bag to help the ripening process.
- Fold down the open end of the bag to seal it.
- Place the bag near a window in the kitchen that receives ample sunlight.
This hack will help quickly ripen the fruit in just 2 or 3 days.
# OVERRIPE BANANAS
Method 1: Freeze Whole Bananas
Overripe bananas don’t necessarily need to end up in the trash can. They can be used to make delectable banana bread and smoothies. But you need to store them the correct way to prevent them from going completely black and squishy. The easiest way to preserve them is by freezing them whole.
Single-Step Method: Freeze overripe bananas in ziplock bags
- Place an overripe banana in a ziplock bag and seal it. If you have more bananas, seal them separately in individual bags.
- Also, if the banana is not too gooey, peel the skin off first and then store it inside the ziplock bag.
Overripe bananas will stay good in a frozen state for 3 to 6 months.
- Instead of peeling a banana from the stem downward, try peeling it from the other end. This will ensure that fewer of the fibrous strings cling to the banana flesh.
- Overripe bananas can also be mashed and used to make a face mask for dry skin.
- You can squeeze some lemon juice over sliced bananas to prevent them from browning.