10 Ways to Make Bananas Last Longer
Unless you're looking to make banana bread, bruised and blackened bananas are nobody's favorite. The problem is, timing the ripening of this finicky fruit is no small task. Fortunately, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to keep your bananas bright and cheery for as long as possible.
10 Tips for Making Bananas Last Longer
1. Start in the Store
While you may be tempted to reach for the perfectly-ripe, yellow bananas at the grocery store, opt for green or greenish-yellow bananas instead. These will ripen over the course of a few days, giving you more time to put your bananas to use. Ripe bananas have to be consumed within three days of purchase, so buying under-ripe bananas will definitely help take some of the pressure off. Avoid green bananas with dark spots or abrasions.
2. Abandon the Bag
If your bananas come in a plastic or paper bag, remove the bag immediately upon returning from the store. Bananas stored inside a bag will only ripen faster, as the ethylene, or the gas emitted from bananas to speed up ripening, will build up in the bag.
Ethylene is produced by many fruits, including apples, peaches, and tomatoes. It's great if you're looking to quickly ripen produce, not so much if you're trying to preserve it for as long as possible.
3. Wrap the Stems
You might've noticed that bananas in the supermarket often come in bunches with plastic wrap around the stem. This is because without wrapping, the ethylene emitted from the stem may travel down and ripen the banana.
If your bananas come pre-wrapped, go ahead and leave them that way. Otherwise, you can either wrap the whole bunch of stems in plastic wrap, or separate the bananas and wrap each individual stem in plastic wrap, more on that below.
4. Divide and Conquer
Wrapping your banana stems as a bunch is a good start, but because there are gaps between the stems, some of the ethylene may still escape when the bananas are wrapped as a bunch.
Dividing your bananas and wrapping them individually is the best way to prevent the ethylene from traveling down the fruit. Plus, when you're ready to eat your bananas, there's no need to unwrap the stems. Simply peel the banana from the opposite end, and hold the banana by the wrapped stem.
5. Keep Them Separate From Other Ripe Fruits
Because bananas aren't the only fruits that produce ethylene, they should be kept away from other types of ripe fruit. On the other hand, storing them next to unripe fruit can help slow the ripening process.
6. Store Them in a Bowl
I don't have to tell you this, but bananas are a delicate fruit. They bruise easily, and they ripen quickly in a closed container. That's why they're best stored at room temperature, with lots of air flow. Try storing bananas upside down in a bowl to protect the fruit from bruising.
7. Hang Them From a Hook
What's even better than the bowl method? Hanging bananas from a fruit tree ($19; Amazon), or any other hook will ensure that they're exposed to proper airflow and that they won't bump against anything and bruise.
8. Give Cut Bananas an Acid Bath
Before you toss the remainder of your half-eaten banana, consider giving it an acid bath. To do this, immerse the leftover banana chunks in lemon juice for up to three minutes, or sprinkle some lemon juice over the whole piece after peeling. This will keep it from browning. To store, wrap the pieces tightly in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container or plastic bag and refrigerate.
9. Refrigerate Ripe Bananas
If you notice that your bananas are reaching the point of no return, go ahead and refrigerate them without a bag. Because bananas ripen best at room temperature, storing them in the fridge will help slow down the ripening process.
10. Befriend Your Freezer
If you know you're not going to get those bananas before they go bad, then it's time to turn to your freezer. Bananas should be peeled before freezing. You can freeze them in slices, large chunks, mashed, and even whole, depending on how you want to use them. For more information on how to freeze bananas, refer to our guide.