Bananas are the ideal quick pick me up. There are a number of varieties of bananas that you can eat. They come in their own natural wrapping and are packed with health benefits. They are rich in vitamin C, which helps prevent tissue damage, increases collagen production, and improves brain health, apart from keeping away the cold and flu.
Additionally, bananas are a fantastic source of manganese, protecting your skin from free radicals, they have high levels of vitamin b6 which helps produce red blood cells, metabolize carbs, metabolize amino acids, clean the kidneys, maintain the nervous system and boost fetal developmental health.
They contain potassium which is good for heart health and to regulate blood pressure, bananas aid digestion and protect the lining of the stomach, reduces the chances of acid reflux and is one of the doctors recommended foods for recovery from gastrointestinal issues.
Bananas are said to have fibers that help aid digestive health by controlling blood sugar levels and helping the body get rid of any fatty substances like cholesterol. They also add fiber to aid bowel movements and maintain a healthy gut.
Fresh bananas contain starch that does not digest in your small intestine and passes to your large intestine. In other words, these fruits help balance your weight by helping you stay full for longer.
Bananas are high in energy and have natural sugars namely sucrose, fructose, and glucose. This trio gives you a low fat, cholesterol-free source of energy. Bananas are ideal for children, those in athletic sports, and anyone who wants a quick meal on the go or a no-fuss breakfast or snack. They taste great in many recipes and are used to make a staple favorite-
Bananas also have many uses in the kitchen. It can be used as raw banana flour for vegan baking, air fried to make banana chips, blended into smoothies and shakes, used on ice cream sundaes or used to make banana bread or banana cookies.
The only downside to bananas is that they tend to ripen all at once. So, one day you are at the grocery store with your wonderfully greenish lime bananas and two days later you have browned squishy fruit fly magnets on your counter.
So how do you store bananas to make them last longer? Read on!
Storing Bananas Properly
There are many reasons that bananas turn brown, let’s get into the science of it to try to understand why this happens so we can learn how to keep them looking appetizing and tasting delicious.
Why Does The Inside of a Banana Turn Brown?
This is primarily due to oxidation. When fruit is cut open the pulp inside reacts with the oxygen in the air. This oxygen ends up affecting the bananas enzymes and turning the inside of the banana brown.
So, if the fruit has a nick, cut, or bruise to its cover, it could oxidize from within.
Why Does The Outside of a Banana Turn Brown?
A banana turns browner as it ripens. When the pigment of the skin of the banana which is initially yellow begins to break down without getting replaced, the skin of the banana turns brown.
So how do you keep bananas fresh?
Keeping Unpeeled Bananas Fresh
The above box of bananas are exactly how I like them.
The problem is without proper storage, the window for eating bananas in its ideal state is very limited. I love bananas but I don’t want to eat 8 of them in two days (although I have haha).
Long story short, bananas (along with some other fruits and veggies) produce ethylene which speeds up ripening.
Which leads to our number 1 method for keeping bananas fresh for longer…
#1 Method: Reduce ethylene produced by bananas
Since the ethylene produced by bananas speeds up ripening, one solution is to some how remove the ethylene, right?
The question is how do you remove the ethylene that bananas produce?
One company figured out a cheap and simple way. BlueApple created ethylene absorbing plastic gadgets that absorb the ethylene.
Watch this video:
Pick the right bananas from the get-go, this sets you up for success in storing them
- When you pick up your next bunch of bananas from the grocery store, make sure to get ones that are under-ripe. These are usually yellow in the middle but still green on the ends.
- Pick the fruit that has no brown spots or blemishes as these are already ripening and will deteriorate quicker.
- Do not pick any fruit that has bruises and punctures as this would mean the inside of the banana is exposed to air and these fruits may ripen faster.
- Do not choose bananas that are yellow when you buy them as they do tend to ripen faster than most other fruit and do have a short shelf life.
Temperature regulation is key for this yellow fellow. Do not refrigerate bananas. This tropical fruit does not like the cold.
- Don’t refrigerate bananas before they are ripe this can cause the banana to turn brown even faster as the cold causes the cell walls to break down causing premature browning as the melanin production amps up and the banana turn completely black.
- While the outside turns black, the inside remains unripe as the cold inhibits the ripening
- Avoid exposing bananas to heat or keeping them near a heat source.
Using Banana Hangers
Banana hangers are important in making this fruit last. The natural form in which a banana hangs off a tree is similar to the banana hanger.
Hanging your bananas reduces the chances of bruising and being exposed to air. Wrap it tight to keep it right, the stem of the banana can be wrapped with cling film or aluminum to seal it and limit the oxygen the stem receives to keep the aging at bay and delay it by up to a week.
Isolate Bananas to Increase Longevity
Bananas will last longer if they are kept away from other fruits and vegetables. Plants produce ethylene which causes fruits to ripen.
As fruits and vegetable age, they often give off gasses that can speed the ripening of bananas. Brown fruits and vegetables are already giving off more ethylene than unripe produce and this can cause nearby fresh produce including bananas to ripen rapidly.
Don’t Store Them in Sealed Bags
Never store bananas in bags that are sealed; this will result in rapid browning as ethylene will not be able to escape from the bag and will surround the fruit causing it to deteriorate.
You can store bananas in the refrigerator once they are ripe, the ripening process once started can be arrested with the cold temperature in the fridge which will slow down the chemical ripening of the fruit.
However this may result in the banana peel turning dark but this is merely a cosmetic issue, it does not affect the freshness of the banana.
Keeping Peeled Bananas Fresh
Make sure to pick bananas that are ripened just as much as you desire before trying this method of storage.
After peeling your bananas promptly place them in an airtight container and freeze them. The container will protect the fruit from oxidation and limit browning.
You can chop them up into smaller chunks and divide them into several containers to defrost later and toss them into a smoothie. The more times you open the container the more likely the banana is to get exposed to oxygen.
Should You Freeze Bananas?
Freezing is more effective than refrigeration as the temperature in the freezer will slow down the ethylene emission more than the refrigerator.
Keep in mind that you may have to leave the frozen banana at room temperature for about an hour to allow it to thaw and you ideally should not microwave this fruit.
Brushing Bananas With Lime/Lemon Juice
Brushing the banana with a bit of lime or lemon juice will also create a protective acidic barrier and keep the banana from discoloration.
There is no need to saturate the banana, simply brush it with juice following the old adage “a little goes a long way” as adding too much will affect the sweet taste of this delicious fruit.
Alternatively, you can dunk the banana in some orange or apple juice which is acidic enough to have the same effect as lemon juice and mild enough not to affect the taste of the banana make sure to keep in mind what you’re using the banana for before slathering on these juices.
You could also dip the peeled banana in a solution of vinegar and water to preserve it. Use one-fourth of a cup of vinegar for every cup of water and dunk the banana in sliced or whole for about three minutes before packing it off.
Do not leave the banana in this solution for too long as it will impact the taste and make the sweet banana taste sour, vinegary, acidic, and bitter.
Try soaking bananas in a solution of water and a crushed vitamin C tablet. Effervescent vitamin C tablets work especially well for this.
Crush a tablet of vitamin C and stir into a bowl of water then dip your banana in for a few seconds.
Turning Bananas Into Banana Bread or a Smoothie
If your banana is already riper than you would like, you can turn it into banana bread (or store your bananas to last longer), a smoothie, or stick a popsicle stick in it and freeze for a healthy icy snack.
Now that you know all the ways to store bananas ripe, unripe, peeled, and unpeeled it’s sure to save you some money and also some trips to the grocery store so enjoy these delicious sweet and healthy fruits whenever you want.