Bananas are the potassium-packed, portable fruit we all know and love, but they can be a bit of a nuisance. They can bruise or ripen too quickly or not ripen quickly enough; like avocados, bananas are on their own timeline and we’re just along for the ride. With that said, there are ways to store bananas in order to have some control over their ripening process and keep them fresh and delicious for longer periods of time. Keep reading for tips on how to store bananas.
How to store bananas
Depending on their ripeness when purchased, bananas will last on your countertop for anywhere from two to six days. If you always have bananas around, it’s worth investing in a holder with a hook. Hanging the fruits eliminates the potential for bruising, which happens when bananas are lying on top of each other. You should also aim to keep the fruits away from direct sunlight, as the heat from the sun can cause them to ripen rapidly.
As with many fruits, refrigerating and freezing can extend the lives of bananas. However, if things get out of hand and you come home to a bunch of blackened bananas on your countertop, there’s always one answer: banana bread.
How to store sliced bananas
Sliced bananas discolor quickly, so it’s best to avoid cutting into them until you’re ready to eat. However, if you sprinkle them with a little lemon juice, it lowers the pH levels and will keep browning at bay. Following the lemon trick, put them in the fridge, either wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight food-storage container or bag. Stored this way, sliced bananas can stay fresh for three to four days.
Can you store bananas in the fridge?
Yes, you can absolutely store bananas in the fridge. Just keep in mind that the cool, dry climate slows the ripening process, which is why bananas aren’t refrigerated in the supermarket. In other words, if you put green, unripe bananas in the fridge, they’re likely to stay that way. Additionally, putting a banana in the fridge too soon can actually ruin the fruit and cause what the U.S. Department of Agriculture refers to as a “chilling injury,” which stops the ripening process and causes bananas to taste bitter.
A good tip to keep in mind is to only place bananas in the refrigerator once they have reached your desired level of ripeness. Once the bananas are in the fridge, you have a few days to enjoy the fruit before it starts to brown.
Can you freeze bananas?
Yes, you can freeze bananas, and you should! Blitz frozen bananas in a blender and you’ll get a sweet, creamy result — perfect for the base of a smoothie or to eat by itself as a sort of banana ice cream. Just make sure to wait until your bananas are perfectly ripe before freezing them, as the chill of the freezer will halt the bananas’ ripening process. It’s best to peel and slice the bananas before freezing them, so they’re easy to work with when you’re ready to use them.
To freeze bananas, lay the slices out on a parchment-paper-lined tray or baking sheet, and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen (it won’t take long), transfer them to a closed container or plastic bag. This step, while not entirely necessary, will keep the banana slices from sticking together and forming a mass.
(Real Simple magazine provides smart, realistic solutions to everyday challenges. Online at www.realsimple.com.)
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