Are you tired of your bananas going from green to carbon in only a matter of days? Are you looking for a safe and better alternative to preserve their freshness and taste for much longer?
Well, the fridge, contrary to popular believe, is definitely the option to try. It’s not the complete and perfect solution for keeping bananas forever, but at least, it’s better than the counter. Here’s why.
Do bananas last longer in the fridge?
Yes, bananas last longer in the fridge. They do so because the cold environment slows down their ripening activities considerably.
In the refrigerator, bananas at various stages of ripeness should last a few more days (than their fruit bowl counterparts) before transitioning into their next level of ripeness i.e, Green bananas should last a couple more days before turning yellow, and likewise yellow to brown and brown to black.
In the freezer, bananas should last even more longer, usually months on end before they go bad.
As a general rule of thumb,
- Green bananas (normally lasting 5 to 7 days on the counter before turning ripe) should take anywhere from 10 to 15 days in the fruits compartment of the refrigerator before they do so and eventually rot.
- Just turned ripe bananas (lasting 2 to 3 days on the counter before turning into a mushy mess) should take anywhere from 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator before turning so.
- Cut or halved bananas that barely last a single day at ambient temperature, should last extra 2 to 3 days without browning or turning mushy when bathed in vinegar, lemon, lime or orange juice and popped into the refrigerator in an air tight container. They’ll however, be altered slightly in flavor due to the notes of the acidic coatings applied on them.
- One thing to also note about bananas stored in the refrigerator is that their skins almost always end up getting black. But that doesn’t mean that the fruits are damaged. It’s simply a case where the skin breaks down a whole lot faster than the pulp — because it’s exposed to oxygen and the pulp isn’t.
Why do bananas last longer in the fridge?
Well, the reason is simple. The cold environment in the fridge slows down the ripening process of the bananas.
This in turn, keeps the berries fresher for longer duration compared to when they are left bare on the countertop or in warm storage areas.
Here’s what cold actually does to the banana bunch in case you’re wondering:
First, it slows down the metabolic rate. This consequently lowers the level of ethylene gas exuded by the fruits.
Now because ethylene gas is responsible for many enzymatic activities within the banana, for example, turning the flesh from mealy to chewy, making the peels turn from green to yellow or even red or blue as is the case with other varieties, and also causing them to exude their characteristic aromatics, turning down its production significantly reduces the speed at which all these activities occurs.
The result is therefore, a fruit that takes much longer to ripen.
How to store bananas in the refrigerator
Storing a bunch of bananas in the refrigerator is as easy as popping them (tip side down) in the fruit’s compartment, or putting them on a higher level shelve until further notice.
Forget those people telling you to separate bananas from the bunch before storing them in the refrigerator.
The claim is often that the trick works to decrease the speed of ripening, but there’s no evidence, whatsoever, that the method works, in fact, there’re too many counterevidence on the internet that suggest otherwise, like this one here.
The process might look like work, but it’s nothing more than a mere loaf. Below are the key things to really bother yourself with when refrigerating bananas.
- Never store green bananas in the refrigerator unless you plan on using them at that very stage of ripeness. Putting them in the refrigerator doesn’t only slow down the ripening process, it also tampers with the mechanism of their ripening. What you end up with, is a malfunctioning berry. One that refuses to ripen well and basically taste like cold fart. Disgusting.
- Covering your bananas tightly with a plastic wrap may help speed up the ripening process. This trick is still one of those kitchen experiments sitting on my to-do list (that’s why it’s sliding into this article as a tip). But I’ve read tons of claims on the internet that affirm that the method works. Some, pretty authoritative. Anyways, when you do try out the method, and it works, please share the results with us in the comments section.
How to freeze bananas
Freezing bananas is where things can actually go wrong. So you want to adhere strictly to these steps and tips.
- Never freeze green bananas that are intentioned to be ripened in the future, rather, refrigerate them or allow them to ripen on the counter before refrigerating them. If you end up with a misconfigured berries after refrigerating, imagine the mess you’ll end up with after freezing them! For green bananas that’ll be needed in their green state, feel free to pop them in the freezer for as long as they last (learn the duration and how below).
- Do freeze ripe and overripe bananas but not together with their peels. The peels get hard to the point where simply fuse into the flesh and become difficult to remove. Unless you want to make your favorite smoothie with an additional ingredient – the banana peel, stir clear of them when you have the chance.
How to freeze bananas
To freeze bananas, first peel them off their skins, you might have to cut through the skin and flesh with a knife if you’re working with a green banana. In this case, make sure to remove every single residue of peels with the knife as you won’t be defrosting but rather putting the bananas into straight use after freezing. You don’t want peels in your smoothie! Next, arrange the naked bananas in a zip lock bag and suck out any air container within. Finally, seal the opening and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.
- It is essential that you suck out any air in the bag to avoid hastened ripening of the banana fruit. Bananas need oxygen to produce however small of ethylene – which we know is responsible for their ripening. Sealing them in an almost air free and airtight container ensures that they never get oxygen enough e=oxygen to respire and create sufficient ethylene.
- To conserve space, you can cut the bananas in halve or small bits.
How to make bananas last longer on the counter
In the earlier paragraphs, we’ve talked about preserving the quality and freshness of bananas in the refrigerator. Now let’s look at how you can preserve the quality of bananas at room temperature since obviously, they don’t seem to last nearly as long as their frozen or refrigerated counterparts.
So how can you preserve the freshness of your banana fruits?
The answer is very simple. Control the rate of production of ethylene and you have a banana that lasts much longer. Here’s how to do that.
- Wrap the banana fruit tightly with a plastic wrap to isolate it from oxygen and then store tip side down. As you might have learnt before, oxygen is necessary for bananas to be able to produce ethylene. No oxygen means that their rate of ripening is reduced significantly since they won’t be able to produce much of the gas. The tip side placement is necessary to prevent the bananas from wounding, which according to research and experience, make them produce more ethylene and ripen faster. Your fully wrapped bananas should keep for extra 2 to 3 days than they would if they weren’t sealed.
- If you’re using a bunch, you can hang them on a banana tree or the bananas projection from the fruit bowl to protect them from bruising.
- Invest in a fruit ethylene absorption device, the popular one in the market is the “bluapple ethylene absorption system”. This one is named after apple, but it’s not that it only works for apples only. It’s a universal solution for controlling ripening in apples, peaches, and even bananas. The device simply works by absorbing they ethylene gas produced by fruits so that it ever gest concentrated around them. This in turn, prevents them from ripening too fast. Using the device, green bananas should take up to 6 days to turn just ripe, and last for up to day 15 before they begin to turn mushy.