Whether you eat them for a snack or as a pre-workout source of energy, bananas are one of those fruits we can’t do without.
But how long do bananas last? Unripe bananas will keep well at room temperature for around 5 days until they ripen. Ripe bananas stored in the fridge will keep well for around a week. Peeled and sliced bananas should also be refrigerated. They should be eaten within 2 to 3 days.
If you want to know how to store bananas, why bananas go brown, and how to slow down that process, then this article is what you should be looking into.
- Browned Butter & Espresso Banana Bread
- Papaya, Banana + Hemp Smoothie
- Gluten Free (and not full of weird flours) Banana Bread (or muffins)
Do Bananas Go Bad?
If you buy smaller bunches of bananas, you may not have the problem of them going bad. But for bigger bunches, it is a common issue for the last few ones to go brown before you manage to eat them.
Bananas do go bad. These fruits continue ripening after harvesting which makes it trickier to store bananas.
What you should know about bananas before buying them is that depending on when you are going to eat them you may have to look for unripe or ripe bananas.
If you are buying only a few bananas to eat them within the following few days, you should certainly pick the bright yellow ones that are already ripe. Bananas that are ripe don’t have hues of green. Brown specs, on the other hand, are a sign of them being good for immediate eating.
In the case of buying a big bunch of bananas to eat within a week or so, you should pick unripe bananas. You may have to wait for a day or two for the bananas to get ripe. Buy bananas with greener ends. As they sit at room temperature, the bananas will ripen, thus giving you more time to eat them.
The overall color of bananas should always be bright-yellow, whether they have greener ends or brown speckling. Don’t buy bananas with gray hues, bruising, and dents.
Depending on the state of the bananas at the time of buying them, you will have to store these fruits differently to get the most flavor and shelf life out of them.
How to Store Bananas?
You can store bananas both at room temperature and in the fridge. But you need to take into consideration the state of the bananas.
Storing Unripe Bananas
If the bananas are unripe, the best place to store them is the pantry. You can leave the fruit on the kitchen counter to ripen too so long as it is away from direct sunlight and any heat sources. But this is only recommended if you are going to eat the bananas soon. Otherwise, it is best to keep the bananas in a dark and dry room. This way they will gradually ripen reaching the state in which you will enjoy them.
It is not a good idea to put unripe bananas in the fridge. Hardly will the ripening process go smoothly in the fridge. Moreover, if you refrigerate bananas that are still green, they will remain green and never ripen. In such cases, there is no going back. Even if you later take the green bananas out of the fridge in the attempts of making them ripen, it most likely won’t work.
Storing Ripe Bananas
You should refrigerate ripe bananas or bananas that have reached your desired degree of ripeness.
Storing ripe bananas in the fridge is easy. You don’t need any packaging. Just put the bananas in the produce drawer of the fridge. The cold temperature will slow down the ripening process thus giving you more time to finish the fruit.
You can keep ripe bananas on the kitchen counter only if you know you will be eating them within a day or two.
An important rule for storing bananas is that you should avoid storing them near other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene too. This will make the bananas ripen much faster.
On the flip side, store bananas away from fruits and vegetables that are ethylene-sensitive to maintain their best qualities. Cabbage and broccoli, for example, are very sensitive to ethylene. Thus, you should always look around when storing bananas in order not to do harm to other products.
How to Store Bananas to Make Them Ripen Faster?
If you have a bunch of green bananas that you need to ripen quickly, here is what you should do.
Put the bananas into a brown paper bag. Close the bag to prevent the ethylene gas from escaping. The latter, being trapped in the bag, will make the bananas ripen much faster.
How to Store Peeled Bananas?
You should keep unfinished, peeled, or sliced bananas in the fridge. Use cling wrap or sealable plastic bags to refrigerate peeled bananas.
As peeled bananas quickly go brown, use some lemon or lime juice to slow down the process and preserve the freshness of the bananas for as long as possible.
Use unfinished or peeled bananas as soon as possible as they don’t have that long of shelf life when stored in the fridge.
How Long Do Bananas Last?
Unripe bananas usually take up to 5 days to ripen if stored at room temperature.
Once the bananas ripen, they should be transferred into the fridge for a longer shelf life. The shelf life of refrigerated ripe bananas is around 7 days.
Sliced bananas stored in airtight containers or bags should be consumed within 2 to 3 days.
Can You Make Bananas Last Longer?
As mentioned earlier, bananas produce ethylene. The ethylene gas comes primarily from the stem part of bananas. It later spreads onto the entire fruit.
While preventing this from happening is not possible, there are a few tricks to slow down the process. Multiple sources state that wrapping the stems of bananas with food wrap is an effective way of preventing ethylene gas from spreading quickly onto the fruit.
It is even more effective to separate the bananas and wrap the stems individually as this way the gas will have fewer chances to escape from under the wrap.
Can You Freeze Bananas?
Freezing bananas is a great way to extend the shelf life of these fruits. However, frozen bananas are so good for smoothies that many people freeze them even if they don’t have the problem of bananas going bad.
Frozen bananas are great not only for smoothies but also for baking. If you are planning to eat frozen and defrosted bananas as is, keep in mind that you have to overlook the mushy texture. There is a lot of water in bananas which results in texture changes after the freezing and thawing processes.
You can freeze both whole bananas and sliced bananas. Freezing whole bananas is easier. All you need to do is to peel the banana, put it in a zip-top bag, and freeze. You should never freeze unpeeled bananas. Not only you won’t be able to peel the banana when it’s frozen but you will also find the banana itself to be very soft and unappealing once it has thawed and you have removed the peel.
Sliced bananas should first be frozen on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. This way the slices won’t stick together once you put them all in one container or bag.
Defrost frozen bananas in the fridge or at room temperature you need to accelerate the thawing process.
Frozen bananas will last from 3 to 6 months in the freezer.
How Do You Know When Bananas Are Bad?
It can get tricky to detect bad bananas as many people think that brown bananas are bad bananas.
The truth is, brown speckling is a natural process for bananas. So long as the flesh is firm, the bananas are good.
Even bananas stored in the fridge may develop brown skin but remain completely good from the insides.
You should discard the bananas if the flesh has turned mushy or there is liquid leaking from the bananas. In the worst cases, there may be mold on the bananas which is a big alert that the fruit has gone bad.
In general, you should be able to tell if the bananas are still good to eat or not just by peeling them.
How Long Do Dried Bananas Last?
Many people buy dried bananas to eat them as a replacement for sugary treats and a healthy snack option.
The shelf life of dried bananas is decided by the ‘Best by’ date printed on the packaging. Keep dried bananas in the pantry for as long as the date on the packaging recommends. To extend the shelf life of dried bananas, keep them in the fridge. Refrigerating will allow you to keep dried bananas for additional 2 to 4 months.
In both cases, dried bananas should be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag.