Food and Nutrition

Ever Wondered How To Keep Bananas Ripe Longer? Here Are 6 Tips

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Photo: Getty Images/10,000 Hours
By our estimate, the banana is the queen of all the fruits. Whether you prefer to bake them into a delectable (protein-packed) quickbread, simply slice some over a yogurt parfait, or turn a bunch into a savory side dish like these banana fritters, they're as versatile as they are good for you. Something in particular that's cool about bananas, though, is that you can eat them at any stage of maturation from blossom to ripe.

Still, should you frequently find yourself scrambling to use up yours before they're past their prime, good news: There are several options to extend the shelf life of this vitamin-packed fruit. We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to get the most mileage out of your bananas below.

Store bananas in a cool place

Bananas should be kept at about 54 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain their golden color for as long as possible. That’s warmer than most refrigerators, but probably cooler than your kitchen counter. Even if you can’t keep your bananas at such a precise temperature, try to keep them out of direct sunlight (which means a cupboard or pantry is probably better than on your windowsill).

Keep them away from other fruits

Those banana hangers aren’t just for aesthetics. Placing them near fruits that release ethylene gas (think: avocados, peaches, tomatoes, apples and figs) can speed up their ripening process.

Wrap their stems in plastic

Because the biggest culprit behind over-ripe bananas is the aforementioned ethylene gas, which is released from the stems of a bunch of bananas, you can wrap the stems in plastic to slow down the releasing process. For best results, you’ll want to separate the bananas and wrap each stem separately (though that will certainly make hanging much more difficult), so you may want to swap your hanger for a hammock.

Refrigerate ripe ones

Once your bananas are just how you like them, popping them in the fridge is a great way to keep them fresher for longer. The cooler the temperatures, the slower the ripening process. Just note: Doing this may darken the skin of the banana, but this is really only a change in pigmentation in the peel—the fruit inside will be unaffected.

Squeeze citrus on already peeled bananas 

When using sliced bananas in a fruit salads or parfaits, you may find that they go brown very quickly once exposed to air similar to avocado. Luckily, you can slow down this oxidation process by sprinkling citrus juice on the cut pieces. Depending on your tastes, you can opt for lemon, lime, or even pineapple juice.

Freeze them for later 

If you’re not planning to eat your ripe bananas right away, freezing them is a great option to prolong their shelf life. For best results, peel them first, then either slice the bananas to your desired thickness or puree the fruit and freeze in ice trays so you can thaw only what you need at one time. Once frozen, bananas can be kept for around six weeks.

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