6 Ways to Make Your Bananas Last Longer
Goodbye, brown bananas! We scoured old cookbooks and interviewed experts to find out how to keep bananas fresh.
Is there anything more delicious than fresh fruit? Okay, maybe chocolate… But fresh fruit is definitely up there, and it’s hard to beat the taste of a ripe banana. If you’re like us, you’re always trying to keep bananas fresh, especially if you’ve bought a bunch but only want to eat one at a time.
Here are some of the most effective ways you can keep bananas from browning too quickly. (Plan B is to make more of this ridiculously easy microwave banana bread!)
How to keep bananas longer
Turns out there’s a scientific reason you should be hanging your bananas from a hook. Bananas start ripening as soon as they’re picked from trees—ethylene gas releases from the stems as soon as they’re picked, but when you hang bananas from a hook, the gas works more slowly. Hanging bananas also prevents them from bruising on the counter, which they’re more prone to do as they continue ripening.
You can pick up a fruit basket with a built-in hook or a small under-cabinet hook made specifically for bananas. Either way, keep your bananas at room temperature while they ripen on the hook.
Buy green bananas
The easiest way to prolong your bananas’ shelf life is to buy the greenest bananas you can find. They’re picked while still green, then slowly ripen over time to reach that bright yellow we love. Instead of grabbing perfectly ripened bananas you’re eyeing for banana muffins, grab a green bunch you can hang from your hook and watch ripen.
Wrap banana stems in plastic wrap
Remember that ethylene gas that makes bananas ripen? It comes from the stems, which means you can wrap those stems—with plastic wrap or aluminum foil—to slow down the ripening process. You may see grocery stores selling bunches of bananas with plastic wrap on the stems, but for best results, take your bananas apart and wrap their stems individually. (Check out more genius uses for plastic wrap all around the house.)
Place ripe bananas in the fridge
One of the cardinal rules of banana storage is to never store them in the fridge. But rules are meant to be broken, especially when it comes to bananas. You should keep green bananas far away from the fridge, but once your bananas have completely ripened, you can move them to the fridge where the cool temperatures will keep them from ripening further (for a few days at least).
Freeze your bananas
Freezing bananas is one of the easiest ways to keep them preserved for future use. But how you freeze bananas could have a big impact on how well they thaw. Freezing the entire bunch will darken the peels, and they’ll thaw poorly. Instead, consider freezing peeled, individual bananas or banana slices in resealable airtight bags.
Buy a banana storage container
Bruising can wreak havoc on your bananas. It leads to squishy parts and faster ripening, which is where hard cases built specifically for bananas come in handy. You can now buy reusable containers designed hold one banana at a time, which are a great way to keep ripe bananas ready for lunch (or for your afternoon snack). You may want more than one if you’re looking to protect a bunch, but if you have one overripe banana, this is a great solution.
Now that you know how to keep bananas longer, check out these insider tips on how to pick the freshest fruit at the grocery store.