How to Keep Bananas Fresh
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There's a nifty trick!
If you love banana bread, having a few brown bananas lying around isn't a bad problem to have. (That's, of course, unless you're Ree Drummond in which case any bananas lying around is a serious problem. 😤) Ripe bananas are exactly what you want to use in baked goods for that sweetness and fruity flavor to really sink in. But when if you're making banana cream pie or a towering banana split, or just eating a plain ol' banana as part of a healthy breakfast, brown and mushy is not the goal. Bananas are one of those fruits that seem perfectly ripe one second and halfway rotten the next. So if you've noticed that your bananas browning a little too quickly, it could be caused by how you're storing them.
Just like there are ways to ripen bananas quicker, there are ways to slow down the ripening process a bit, too. All it takes is a few household items and a little know-how to easily extend the life of bananas. Ahead, you'll find all the tips you need to keep 'em fresh for longer!
There are a few tricks to keeping bananas fresh. First, if your bananas came in a plastic bag from the grocery store, remove them from the bag as soon as you get home and place them in a spot in your kitchen that doesn't get a ton of sunlight. If you have a banana hanger, use it!
These handy hanging racks help keep the bananas from getting bruised but they also slow the bananas' exposure to ethylene gas—the culprit of quick ripening. Speaking of ethylene gas, make sure to store your bananas away from other fruits that also produce a lot of the gas. Piled into a fruit bowl with apples, peaches, and avocados is a recipe for disaster or err really brown bananas.
When you're out grocery shopping, consider buying bananas that are on the green side if you don't plan to eat them immediately.
Some folks scowl at the thought of putting bananas in the fridge. But if you have a banana that you want to keep perfectly ripe for a few more days, move it to the refrigerator. The cool temperatures help slow down the ripening process so the banana won't turn to mush for a bit longer. Don't worry if the peel turns brown or even black in the fridge; the fruit should still be good. Green bananas, though, should be left on the countertop to ripen properly.
The easiest way to slow a banana's ripening is by sticking it in the fridge, but you can also try wrapping a banana's stem in plastic wrap. Sometimes, a bunch of bananas you buy from the supermarket will come with their stems wrapped in plastic; in that case, you should leave the plastic put! The stem is the source of the majority of ethylene gas—the aforementioned ripening culprit—that comes from a banana. Wrapping the stems right up slows down the release of the gas.
If your bananas didn't come wrapped, you can wrap them yourself at home. Just take some plastic wrap or foil and wrap the stems. For even better results, pull the bananas apart from one another and wrap them separately! Of course, if you're looking for something to do with a bunch that have already turned brown, you can always freeze bananas for later.
Georgia Goode is the Senior Food Editor/Writer at ThePioneerWoman.com. When she's not editing recipes and sneaking bites from the test kitchen, you can find her scouting out the best eats around town and dreaming up dinner party menus with friends.
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