Bananas make for an excellent snack no matter the time of day. They’re creamy and filling, yet not too sweet like other fruits out there.
What’s more, they’re easily accessible and inexpensive to purchase. Bananas are a staple fruit in many households and people of all ages can appreciate the taste of a ripe banana.
Having said that, many people despair at how quickly their bananas go bad without them knowing. One day the fruit is ripe in all its glory, while the next day it is nothing but a mushy, brown mess.
Unless you’re an avid banana bread maker, no one wants a bad banana.
So, how do you store bananas properly? We’re going to be answering this burning question of yours today.
Many people believe that the refrigerator is the answer to all of their problems, but this is only true in some circumstances.
If you want to know how to store bananas properly to extend the shelf life as much as possible, enjoy our article and keep reading.
Storing Bananas in the Refrigerator
You can store your bananas in the refrigerator, and it’s not an uncommon thing for people to do.
It makes sense, after all - almost every other fruit is recommended to be kept in the refrigerator. However, a banana is a tropical fruit that requires warmth to grow and mature.
When you get to the store and stand before the shelves of bananas, you’ll more than likely be met by a sea of green fruit. We all know that bananas start off as green and ripen to their signature yellow color.
So, you grab your bag of bananas and take them back home. Green bananas are too bitter for you to eat so you’ll need to leave them to ripen first. This is where people make the first mistake. Storing unripened bananas in the refrigerator will slow down the ripening process.
While the banana peel is turning blotchy and an unappealing brown color, the fruit inside remains as unripe as it was before you put it in the colder climate. The peel will continue to deteriorate and become thin.
Even if you took the bananas out of the refrigerator to ripen at room temperature, the peel wouldn’t be strong enough to protect the fruit. So, storing your bananas in the refrigerator when they’re unripened is a sure way to waste them.
The most important thing to remember when storing bananas in the refrigerator is that they need to be perfectly ripened before doing so. Not unripened, and not overly ripe either. Leaving your bananas in the refrigerator when they’re ripe will extend their shelf life for up to two weeks!
Don’t be discouraged if you see your bananas aging quickly in the refrigerator. Even ripe bananas will turn brown in the refrigerator. Well, at least the peel will turn brown - the fruit itself will remain ripe and edible for weeks to come.
So, don’t immediately throw your bananas into the trash in disgust once you find that they’ve turned brown. Inside the peel is still the perfectly ripe bananas that you started with!
Things to consider before storing bananas in the refrigerator
Many people who store their bananas in the refrigerator find that the rest of their groceries have a distinct smell and taste after sharing the space.
If you’re an avid banana lover, you might not mind all of your other food starting to morph into a banana-like hybrid.
However, not everyone wants to eat meat that has a tinge of banana to it. To avoid this problem, you should store your bananas away from anything that you don’t want to become infected with the taste of bananas.
Designating one drawer in your refrigerator as a fruit drawer can help separate your bananas from everything else in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can make sure that you wrap all of your groceries in plastic wrap or keep them in airtight containers.
Most foods benefit from being kept separate from other foods in the refrigerator anyway, so you might find that you benefit from this tip in more ways than one. Another thing to consider is that bananas can actually make other fruits go bad quicker than they should.
This is down to the ethylene gas that is produced from bananas. If another piece of fruit is kept in a small space with bananas for too long it can cause them to rot prematurely. To avoid finding your fruit bowl being full of mold and flies, you should wrap the stems of the bananas.
Using plastic wrap to reduce the amount of gas reaching your other fruit will help to slow the rotting process, but it might not quell it completely. This might be a good incentive to help you eat more fruit and get your five a day!
You can use your bananas emitting this gas as an advantage; however, as it can actually help to ripen fruit as well. Take a paper bag and fill it with your bananas and the piece of fruit you want to ripen. Leave them together overnight and in the morning you should find a perfectly ripened piece of fruit.
Just don’t forget about your little science experiment and leave the fruit with the bananas for too long. You might find that the gas has worked a little too well and has overripened your piece of fruit, or made it go too bad to eat.
Storing bananas at room temperature
Alternatively to the refrigerator, you could always opt for leaving your bananas at room temperature. This is our personal preference as you don’t have to worry about waiting for the bananas to turn ripe before moving them to the refrigerator.
Bananas are a tropical fruit that needs warmth to grow and ripen. While your kitchen might not be as warm as the tropical climates the bananas are used to, it is still a better temperature than the refrigerator is offering.
It can be as simple as leaving your bunch of bananas laying out in your pantry or inside a fruit bowl. However, bananas are one of the most finicky fruits and they bruise very easily.
To avoid this you can opt for a banana tree that uses the stalks to mimic the natural position if the bananas were still attached to their trees.
Banana trees are often made from metal and they prevent too much pressure from bruising the bottom of the bananas. The tree also keeps the bananas away from other products in the fruit bowl so that none of it goes bad prematurely.
Storing your bananas at room temperature makes it much easier to see when the fruit is unripe, perfectly ripened, and overripe. If the fruit has turned brown and feels soft to touch, you know that it’s over-ripened and gone bad.
This is different from keeping them in the refrigerator as the bananas might look brown but still be perfectly ripened. The guessing game is eliminated if you keep your bananas at room temperature. However, the shelf life is bound to decrease if you don’t move them to the refrigerator once they’re ripened.
Storage containers for bananas
Alternatively, you can opt for a storage container that keeps bananas ripe for as long as possible.
There are plenty of storage containers on the market, and we’re going to look at a few of the best below.
OUR TOP PICK
The Debbie Meyer GreenBags are great for keeping bananas fresh, as well as other fruits and vegetables, in the refrigerator or at room temperature. The manufacturer claims that bananas will remain ripe and yellow after nine days within the bag.
That’s a pretty impressive amount of time when you compare it to how bananas fare for nine days without any protection of the bag. What’s more, you can reuse each bag up to 10 times before recycling it.
These reusable bags are excellent value for money and are sure to keep your bananas fresh for longer. Just make sure that you keep an eye on the moisture levels inside of the bag. If there is any water inside the bag you should wipe it out as soon as possible.
The Snips Banana Guard ensures that your bananas are safe and free of bruises by the time you want to eat them. It also works hard to keep the banana fresh for as long as possible. These can be used in lunch boxes, bags, or simply at home to avoid damages.
You can also use the banana guard to keep opened bananas fresher for longer in case you want to save it for later. You can use this storage container in the refrigerator as long as the banana has reached your ideal freshness.
The guard is easy to clean and use. The only downfall that we can find with the Snips Banana Guard is that they only fit one banana at a time. So, if you have an entire bunch of bananas you will have to purchase a lot of guards to keep them all fresh.
Finally, we have a banana bag that can be used to store complete bunches at one time. The design of the bag slows down the ripening process so that your fruit will stay fresher for longer. This bag can extend the shelf life of your bananas by two whole weeks!
The yellow coloring of the bag is smarter than you think, as it’s not just to coordinate with the fruit within it. It is actually to ensure that you don’t forget about the bananas within your refrigerator before they go bad.
You can use this bag for all fruits and vegetables, but we think that it works best for bananas. The downside to the banana bag is that you won’t be able to see if your bananas are still edible without having to open up the bag and take a good look.
Preventing bananas from turning brown too quickly
Whether you’re a fan of green or yellow bananas, we think that we can all agree that no one wants to eat a brown banana. Luckily for us, there is a simple way to prevent your banana from turning brown prematurely.
As we’ve already mentioned, bananas let off a gas that speeds up the ripening process of everything around them. This gas also speeds up the ripening process of bananas themselves which makes them turn brown seemingly overnight.
To prevent this, you’ll need some unripe avocados and a bowl large enough to hold them and your bananas. Simply place the bananas in the bowl and surround them with the green, unripe avocados.
You can distinguish unripe avocados from ripe avocados by gently squeezing the fruit. If they are firm and very difficult to squeeze, you should use these to keep your bananas yellow. Easily squeezable avocados will not be as efficient as unripe avocados.
By leaving your bananas with the avocados, you can reap the rewards from both of the fruits. The gas will be taken away from the bananas and used by the avocados. This means that your bananas will remain yellow for longer and your avocados will ripen quicker.
You can also put your bananas that have been separated and have their stalks wrapped in plastic wrap, in a bowl with other unripe fruit. These other fruits will keep your bananas ripe and yellow by taking up all of the gas so that it doesn’t affect the bananas too much.
Storing bananas in the freezer
Frozen bananas can be an excellent summer snack or they can be used in smoothies to make the best consistency. However, there is some preparation work that needs to be done before you freeze your bananas to make sure that they’re as nice as possible when you’re ready to eat them.
Bananas are best frozen and eaten frozen as they can become mushy and slimy when thawed. To freeze them, you should peel and chop the fruit to the size that you’ll want to use in the future. Cutting and peeling frozen bananas will be much harder than doing so before they go into the freezer.
The freezer will also make the banana skin turn black and slimy. This might not be the desired outcome and it can be rather unappealing, so we would recommend removing the skin before freezing.
Flash freezing your banana pieces will prevent them from sticking together during the freezing process. Place the pieces on a baking sheet and freeze them for three hours before transferring them to a freezer bag.
Make sure that the bag or container you keep them in is airtight to avoid the bananas from turning brown in the freezer. Again, only freeze bananas that are perfectly ripe as they won’t ripen any more once they’re in the freezer. Bananas can last up to six months in the freezer.
If you’re bananas for bananas, you’re going to want to find the best way to store your bananas so that they don’t go bad too quickly before you get a chance to eat them.
Hopefully, after our article, you have a better idea of how to store your bananas properly.
We would recommend you leaving your bananas out at room temperature until they become the perfect ripeness. You can either eat them at room temperature or you can transfer them to the refrigerator to prolong the shelf life for up to two weeks.
You can also store your bananas in the freezer if you want to use them in smoothies or fruit salads. The freezer will keep your bananas ripe for up to six months, but you shouldn’t thaw the fruit to eat defrosted as the texture will be altered.
There are also plenty of storage containers for your bananas if you want to help keep the ripeness for longer still. Take our advice and enjoy your ripe bananas for longer!