Did you know that the average American puts away 27 pounds of this bananas every year? Yep, we’re bananas for, erm, bananas. That’s why we almost always bring home more fruit from the store than we can handle. But don’t fret—here’s the scoop on how to freeze bananas so you can make tropical smoothies and moist banana bread whenever you feel like it (which is often, in our experience).
How to Freeze Whole Bananas
When frozen whole, ripe fruit will thaw right back to its former snack-worthy self (rather than being relegated to baking recipes). But keep in mind that this method works well for bananas that are still at their very best—skip to the next section if you’re freezing fruit that’s started to brown.
1. Peel the banana. We recommend peeling prior to freezing for two reasons: Firstly, frozen bananas are difficult to peel. Secondly, if you leave the peel on you can expect it to turn an unappetizing shade of brown—the fruit will still be fresh, but we prefer not to tarnish the memory of our once-golden, glorious bananas. (Word to the wise: Don’t discard those peels, slap ‘em on your feet instead. It’s TLC for tired tootsies.)
2. Place the peeled banana in a plastic storage container or freezer bag. If you have space in the freezer, opt for hard-sided Tupperware with a tight seal so that your banana doesn’t get banged up and bruised in the freezer. But a plastic storage bag will work just as well when it comes to preserving freshness—just be sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing.
3. Seal the Tupperware or plastic bag and store in the back of the freezer to keep your banana fresh for up to three months.
How to Freeze Banana Slices
This is the preferred method for freezing bananas that have already started to soften and brown, but even perfectly ripened fruit should be sliced first if you’re planning on using them to satisfy a smoothie craving. Here’s what you do.
1. Peel the banana and slice into ¾-inch rounds. (Any thicker than this and the blades of your blender might not be up to the task.)
2. Line a cookie sheet or baking tray with parchment paper and spread the banana slices out in a single layer on the pan.
3. Transfer the pan to the freezer for approximately two hours to flash-freeze your fruit.
4. Once the slices are frozen solid, remove the pan from the freezer and portion the banana out into plastic storage bags.
5. Use a straw to suck excess air out of the storage bags before sealing.
6. Store your sliced bananas in the back of the freezer for up to three months. Use as a cereal garnish, baking ingredient or smoothie mix-in.
5 Ways to Enjoy Your Frozen Bananas
Bananas thaw quickly, so if snacking gratification is what you want, the wait won’t be long—but that’s not all they're good for. Here are some more ways to use your frozen bananas so they deliver deliciousness, no defrosting necessary.
- Overnight oats with peanut butter and banana
- Green smoothie with avocado and apple
- Banana milk
- Chocolate-covered frozen banana
- Upside-down banana caramel bread