Though bananas don’t keep particularly well, storing them in the fridge will inevitably extend their shelf life, though with a caveat. Instead, your pantry might be the better choice if you can set the temperature to about 53°F (12°C).
It’s a good thing that bananas are easy to store and keep around, given that their shelf life is what it is. As you may be surprised to learn, even the freezer won’t help that much. Certainly not nearly as much as it helps with most other fruits and veggies.
Regardless, we do have a few solid tricks up our proverbial sleeves, and we aim to share them with you in the next couple of sections. So – read on!
Table of Contents
How to Store Bananas Properly
There are two main must-haves for proper banana storage: moderately low temperature and protection from excessive light. As we already mentioned, 53°F (12°C) is the ideal keeping point, as anything higher than that is bound to result in a further ripening of the fruit.
In most cases, a reasonably cool pantry will provide both of these requirements. Since the actual fruit is well-protected by its organic skin, you can simply set entire bundles of bananas down on a shelf without worrying too much about it.
The thing to keep in mind is that you should always ensure that there’s enough air moving around bananas. Keeping them in a plastic bag like this is fine, provided that it has holes or that you haven’t completely wrapped it around the fruit.
- Size: 12" X 16" (30cm x 40cm)
- 1 Roll = 350 Bags
- Continuous roll with easy peel perforation line
Now, you can keep bananas in the fridge, though only after they’ve ripened properly. The issue with banana refrigeration is that it’s a tropical fruit and, as such, doesn’t handle low temperatures particularly well.
Why Shouldn’t I Keep Bananas in the Fridge?
If you’re wondering what it is about the fridge that makes it problematic for bananas, it’s the way this fruit ripens. Namely, bananas basically cease the ripening process once the temperature drops below 53°F (12°C) or so. In practice, this means you might get stuck with a tasteless, starchy fruit instead of yellow deliciousness.
How to Ripen Bananas the Right Way?
Our recommendation is to buy slightly green bananas and then leave them at room temperature until they’re mostly yellow, with a few darker, brown spots interspersed on the skin. This is a surefire way to tell if the fruit is perfectly tender and sweet for use.
And yes – it is as simple as leaving bananas out and about until they’re ready. Once you’ve got yellow, delicious-smelling bananas, you can safely store them in the fridge to get a longer shelf-life out of them.
Can I Freeze Bananas?
Curiously, bananas can be frozen, too! You may not have seen this coming due to the soft and tender nature of the fruit, but it’s an option for sure. You will, however, have to do some prep-work for bananas to survive in the freezer.
First – and we cannot overstate the importance of this step – make sure that your bananas are ripe and ready to go. Unripened bananas won’t be nearly as delicious as ripe ones would be, even after the whole freezing/unfreezing business is done.
When that’s good and settled, you can decide whether you want to store slices of banana or purée instead. If you’re going for the slices, first freeze individual bits on a cookie tray. If you’ve chosen purée, consider using ice cube trays to freeze it.
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How Long Can Bananas be Safely Stored?
Fresh, ripe bananas can stay on the counter for 2-3 days, while the fridge should keep them good for up to 9 days at a time. The middle ground between these two options – the pantry with ideal storage conditions – should get you 4-5 days of shelf-life in most cases.
As for frozen bananas, don’t expect to keep them around for nearly as long as most other fruit. Even if perfectly preserved, you should use frozen bananas within 2-3 months of storing them.
How to Tell if My Bananas Have Already Gone Bad?
We’ve mentioned before that a ripe, healthy banana will have a number of brown spots on its skin. While this is the case, if your fruit is browner than it is yellow, its expiration date is really close.
If you’re worried about this, try touching the fruit. A ripe banana is going to be somewhat firm to the touch, but if it’s already turned to mush, it’s past its prime for sure.
In extreme cases, an expired banana will have started growing mold in the darkest spots on its skin. Naturally, you’re not going to want to use it at all if that’s your situation. Look for fruit flies, too, as they’ll begin to crowd your fruit as it nears the end of its shelf life.
Banana Storage Mistakes: Don’t Make ‘Em!
As you surely know by now, bananas are extremely sensitive to pressure damage. Ripe ones in particular! Make sure not to squeeze them hard or throw them around.
On that note, you don’t generally want to store bananas near most other fruits, either. Bananas aren’t just a major producer of ethylene – the ripening gas – but they are also extremely susceptible to it. This is why they ripen as quickly as they do. So, keep them safe and tucked away from, say, apples.
Finally, even if your bananas are completely brown, if they still look mostly good to eat otherwise, don’t throw them out! Fruit that’s this ripe is the perfect choice to make banana muffins or banana bread with, so consider those options instead.
Keep Your Bananas Fresh And Ripe!
And there you have it – we’ve covered everything important about banana storage at this point. Some storage tips we’ve shared aren’t necessarily self-evident – like how the fridge halts the ripening process – so we hope you find this information useful moving forward!