We have a lot of love for the tropical taste and meaty texture of bananas, which is why it’s particularly vexing when our schedules don’t align. (They’re either too brown or too green but so rarely just right.) If you’re like us and buy bananas by the bunch, but only manage to enjoy a fraction of the fruit you bring home, read on for some good news. We got the word on how to store bananas so you can enjoy them in every stage of their starchy-sweet life.
How to Store Unripe Bananas
Buying bananas when they’re slightly green is a good strategy, but it might not feel like it when you get a bit peckish and your wholesome nosh is nowhere near ready for consumption. If delayed gratification is the dilemma du jour, use these tips to speed up the ripening process so you can satisfy your craving as quickly as possible.
- Store unripe bananas in a paper lunch bag. Scrunch the top to seal before storing the paper sac at room temperature.
- Add your unripe bananas to a fruit bowl. Not only will this look fancy, but any other fresh produce will give off fruit-ripening ethylene gas to speed up the process (avocados and apples are particularly good companions). Just keep in mind that bananas bruise easily, so position them at the top of your display for best results.
- The most direct route to ripe banana bliss? Combining the two methods above by putting your unripe banana in a paper bag with another piece of fruit. Then close the bag and store it on your kitchen counter for ready-to-eat fruit in just one to two days.
How to Store Ripe Bananas
It would be great if every banana in the bunch ripened at different rates, but experience has taught us they all go from green to ‘eat me now’ at the same time. And although we love our bananas, there’s a limit to how many we can eat in a single day. Fortunately, these tricks will help slow the ripening process.
- Separate each banana from the bunch—they’ll stay fresher for longer when flying solo.
- Wrap the stem of each banana tightly with plastic wrap to isolate the ethylene gas. (You might end up discarding a chunk of banana near the stem, but if you seal the source, the rest of your fruit won’t ripen as fast.)
- Bananas hit their prime and then go downhill fast, so turn to your fridge for help when your fruit is fully ripe. Follow the two steps described above and then store ripe bananas in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. The peels will darken as if your fruit has overripened, but don’t be fooled—the tropical treat inside should stay firm and fresh for one to two weeks in the fridge.
How to Store Partially Eaten Bananas
Maybe you only had time to take a few bites of fruit at breakfast before you rushed out the door or maybe you offered a quick bedtime snack to your kid who was only pretending to be hungry. Whatever the case may be, don’t relegate that piece of partially eaten fruit to the reject bin. Instead, save it with this nifty storage technique.
- Cover the opened end of the banana with plastic wrap so that the entire stem and any split part of the peel are sealed.
- Place the fruit in an airtight plastic storage container. (This might seem like overkill, but it’s just not worth the effort to save a partially eaten banana if it’s just going to get banged up after a day in the fridge.)
- Store the wrapped and sealed banana in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for one to two days.
Note: If you suspect you missed the refrigeration window with your partially eaten or overripe banana, you can still save that fruit! Simply peel, slice and flash freeze bananas on a baking sheet for two hours. Then, when the slices are frozen solid, transfer to plastic storage bags and stow in the back of the freezer for future use in smoothies, cakes and more.