On the whole I prefer ripen bananas to unripen ones, but sometimes it’s good to know how to prevent bananas from ripening too quickly.
I know that some people don’t like the flavour of ripened bananas and some might like to minimise the amount of sugar they eat (which is increased in ripen bananas).
Here are my top tips on how to keep your bananas in a perfect condition for longer. These methods are tried and tested on regular yellow bananas, but they also work on other type of bananas, such as plantains or pink banana fruits.
Buy underipe bananas
If you want your bananas to last longer, buy them, when they are slightly under ripe. This way they will stay fresher for longer at home. Make sure that they are free of any brown spots or that they are not completely yellow (it’s best when they are green at the ends and yellow in the middle, but without any blemishes).
If you buy already ripen bananas (I often do, when they are reduced at the end of the day), use them for baking, making simple ice cream or freeze them straightaway.
- Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie >>
- Peanut Butter & Bananas Smoothie Bowl >>
- Banana & Carob Pancakes >>
- Banana & Coffee Breakfast Smoothie >>
- Pumpkin & Banana Smoothie>>
- Buckwheat & Banana Pancakes (Gluten Free) >>
- Banana & Walnut Bread (Gluten Free) >>
- Banana & Frozen Yogurt Popsicles >>
- Banana Nut Bread (no butter) >>
- Banana & Honey Curd >>
Move bananas away from other fruit
Similarly like bananas, other fruits produce ethylene – a ripening gas, which helps the fruit to ripen even when they are harvested. So, something like a nicely arranged fruit bowl with different types of fruit including bananas is not a great idea if you want your bananas to last longer.
Keep your bananas away from other fruits to prevent them from ripening too quickly. You can use a banana tree hanger if you have one – the idea is that the bananas are suspended in the air, so that they don’t get bruised as they would when they are lying down.
Wrap the banana stems
This might sounds like a little school of wizardry, but wrapping a silver cooking foil or tight plastic bag over the end of the bananas will slow down the process of ripening. This is because bananas naturally release ethylene gas through their stems which helps the ripening.
Ideally, you want to tightly wrap a cling film or a silver foil around each banana stem and keep them slightly separated. Cutting off the stem doesn’t really work, as the bananas will be exposed to air bacteria, which can spoil your bananas quicker than if you’ve left the stem on.
Store in the fridge when ripen
Only put your bananas in the fridge when they are ripen to stop ripening further. If you do it too soon (e.g. when they are still green) they will not ripen at all and stay green and unripen even when you take them from the fridge.
You might notice that the banana skin will eventually go brown, but that shouldn’t impact on the flavour or firmness of the bananas inside.
This is probably the easiest way to preserve bananas, if you know you can’t eat them all within few days. I find that it’s best to peel the bananas first, chop them into smaller chunks (say 1 – 1,5 cm) wide and then leave them to freeze first on a tray (lined with a greaseproof paper). Once frozen, put them in the airtight container or a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3-6 months.
You can also freeze bananas whole, but I find that it’s better to peel them first before you place them in the freezer. Technically you can just throw them in the freezer as they are (it won’t affect the banana flavour or taste).
Frozen and defrosted bananas are quite soft and often go brown, when fully defrosted, so they are best as a toppings for your breakfast porridge, making a breakfast smoothie or using in baking (where you would normally use mashed banana, like a banana loaf).