Why are my green bananas not turning yellow?

Have your bananas being warming the fruit bowl at the countertop for more than a week without producing any hint of yellow hue? It could be as a result of the following reasons. Read on to discover what they are and find out exactly what you can do about it.

Why are my green bananas not turning yellow?


  1. You have a variety of banana that doesn’t turn yellow when ripe.
  2. You have an organic banana.
  3. You have bananas that have not been fully re-activated.
  4. You have a premature banana.
  5. Your bananas are cold. 

1) You have a variety of banana that doesn’t turn yellow when ripe

You’ve probably not heard this before, but there are a few banana varieties out there that never really turn yellow when they ripen, although most usually take on different hues of yellow.

A typical example is the Ebun Musak variety which only takes on a lighter shade of green after it becomes ripe.

You can still see some of the yellow trace buried underneath when you investigate closely — because the fruits are still bananas after all, but it just never comes out no matter how soft, mushy and sweet the pulps and peels gets.

So bringing back a variety like the Ebun Musak from the fruit stores, could actually be the reason why your bananas aren’t turning yellow no matter how much time you give them on ripen.

You can always check for ripeness by feeling the skins of the banana to see whether they give easily to pressure and are also soft to the touch. The skins of fully ripe bananas readily give way to pressure and are ever soft to the touch.

They also bear a lighter shade of the green that you brought them from the store with. So check to confirm that you aren’t waiting for your bananas to turn rotten instead of ripe.

You can also check for ripeness by peeling the bananas and having a taste for yourself. That’s a more reliable and effective approach, except that it requires you to sacrifice a banana fruit.

But hey… sacrificing one banana from a bunch of 6 to 7 shouldn’t be something any one will ponder about should it? Besides, if the banana turns out ripe, it’s a quick treat for your taste buds!

2) You have an organic banana

For some reasons, organic bananas just never turn out as lustrous yellow as the conventional bananas that we’re used to.

Maybe because they’re sprayed with different type of ripening chemicals than conventional bananas are sprayed with, which is causing them to ripen a bit inefficiently?

Organic bananas can be checked for ripeness using the same test from above. Push them slightly with the fingers to see if there’s any give. They’ll often bear a lighter shade of the green color that you brought them from the stores with.

3) You have a bunch of bananas that hasn’t been fully re-activated.

This, alongside the second on this list, are the most common reasons why people end up with bananas that aren’t turning yellow. They simply bought bananas from the stores that haven’t been fully re-activated! Funny huh?

Let’s quickly take you behind the scenes so you can really understand what we mean by the “bananas haven’t been fully re-activated.”

Let us consider the regular or conventional bananas. These are the common type of bananas you’ll find on the grocery shelves or fruit markets. They are always plucked unripe in acreages before they are washed and prepared for export; because plucking them ripe translates into financial loss since the fruits aren’t going to ship well, i.e. they’ll ripen too fast and eventually rot even before they reach their destinations.

During transport, the bananas are refrigerated in order to deactivate their ripening activities: because bananas are climacteric fruits which means that they continue to ripen even after being plucked from their modal plants.

This deactivation serves the same purpose as the earlier harvesting of bananas immediately they turn mature green does; to prevent any financial loss due to the fruits ripening too fast that they damage and rot even before reach their destinations. In case you’re wondering, the condition of transport are easily optimal for bananas to turn ripe very fast; high temperature and humidity.

The cooling of the bananas in the refrigerator slows down their metabolic activities which in turn cause them to slow considerable in their ripening activities.

When the bananas reach their destination, and before they are taken to regional distribution centers, wholesalers, supermarkets and bodegas, they are re-activated or triggered to continue the ripening process that was earlier stopped.

Here’s how they are “re-activated”. The fruits are packed in a special facility or room having optimum temperature and humidity necessary for the fruits to kick start their ripening process, and are pumped with (usually) the same fruit ripening hormone that they exude naturally in order to ripen.

The hormone is called ethylene and it’s the reason why bananas end up yellow from green, mushy from hard and also produce sweeter pulp from puckering flesh. Once the bananas are sprayed with the fruit ripening hormone, they instantly recognize it and quickly transition into their ripening mood.

Now you see where things can go wrong. If the bananas aren’t exposed with the correct dose of ethylene, and correspondingly the optimum temperature and humidity to reactivate their ripening activities, they may end up never ripening, or doing so very slowly at their own rate!

Most bananas that haven’t been fully “re-activated” usually end up ripening on their own from their own natural ethylene. But it may take forever, so be patient or try out the amazing techniques mentioned at the end of this article, so that your bananas may perhaps, ripen much quicker.

4) You have a premature banana

Another reason why your bananas might not be turning yellow is that they were plucked and shipped premature.

There’s a significant difference between the terms “mature” and “green” in the world of fruits.

Green bananas that have attained physiological maturity will always continue to ripen after they are plucked off from their modal trees.

Green premature ones on the other hand, will always find it hard to turn ripen simply because their growths process is still incomplete: similar to the case of a human baby birthed premature; although they are usually supported in a hospital’s NICU to ensure their growth and survival.

Premature bananas usually have sharp edges (meaning that they aren’t plumped), and will sit on the counter green until they develop brown patches and rot. If you have one using the test from above, throw them out, they’re never going to ripen.

5) You’re bananas are cold

Putting your bananas in the coldest part of the house like the refrigerator or any other place that only you know best, is an effective way of slowing down their ripening process.

Popping them in the refrigerator at least turns their peels brown, but any other place outside wouldn’t, and so they’ll look like they aren’t ripening at all.

You can easily speed up the ripening process of cold bananas by transferring them to a warm and moist area around the house such as near the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter. If it’s winter, hide them in the corners of a dark room.

One thing to note though, is that if you’ve already made the mistakes of refrigerating the green bananas you received as a gift from your neighbors or brought from the fruits market, then there’s actually very little you can do to adjust the fingers back onto their ripening track.

That’s because, green bananas almost always never continue to ripen well after being refrigerated or frozen. The best thing you can do, is to re purpose them in baking, or other dishes that call for green bananas.

6) Your bananas are suffocating

Another reason why your bananas aren’t turning yellow or ripening well might be because you’re suffocating them. Check and see, they might still be wrapped under the airtight plastic wrap your brought them in from the store, or under a new one you purposed by yourself.

Bananas need oxygen to produce ethylene which is responsible for their ripening. Having them skintight under a clear plastic wrap is an effective way of isolating them from free oxygen, which will of course translate into slower ripening.

So remove the wrap, keep them on the counter, and watch the magic happen!

7) You are simply too impatient

Green bananas need solid 5 to 7 days in order to turn yellow. It could be that your inner craving is simply too impatient and that’s why you think that the bananas aren’t ripening. Try giving them some time, even an extra 2 to 3 days after expiration of the 7 day ultimatum. Then, if they’re still not ripened, you can try out the methods below to speed up the process.

Tips to ripen bananas faster

  1. Bury the bananas under straw, rice, millet or any other cereal and check twice per day. The bananas should ripen in as little as a day or two.
  2. Put the bananas in a brown paper bag alongside two ripe apples. Close loosely to allow oxygen and let sit for about a day in a warm area, like near the refrigerator. The fruits should ripen in as little as a two or three days.

What to do with green bananas

Just so you know, and don’t despair, there are actually researchers that think green bananas might be a little healthier and better than yellow bananas; because of their ability to satiate and also to lower blood pressure among a few other things.

So if you have a green banana that never turns yellow no matter the time you give it on the counter , or the efforts you put in to ripen it, you can always re purpose them to make any of these recipes.

  1. Make them into fries:
  2. Boil them and serve with sauce
  3. Bake them and serve with olive oil and salt
  4. Make them into smoothie.