Who doesn’t go bananas for bananas? The sweet, but not too sweet fruit is filling and rich in potassium and other healthy vitamins.
Bananas make the perfect on-the-go snack at any time of the day. The trick is to find a way to always have them on hand without worrying about them over-ripening on your counter.
Can you refrigerate bananas? You can refrigerate ripe bananas to help them stay fresher for longer, but refrigerating unripe bananas will stop the ripening process and cause the peel to turn black. If you put bananas in the fridge after they’ve started to go brown, they will turn to mush even faster. It’s best to refrigerate ripe, but still yellow, bananas for up to two weeks.
However, there are some products on the market that will help your bananas stay fresher for longer. Keep reading for all the info you need to learn how to store bananas to keep them perfectly ripe for as long as possible.
We have all gone to the store, bought a larger bunch of bananas than we can eat, and wondered how to use them all. It never fails – when you bring them home, they’re too green, but seemingly overnight turn brown and get mushy.
How do you keep them from turning into a mushy mess? The old rule of storing bananas exclusively on the counter, in a pretty fruit bowl, is dated. It’s time to start keeping our bananas in the fridge!
How to Store Bananas in the Fridge
Bananas are a tropical fruit that need warmth to ripen. Putting the banana in a cold fridge will instantly slow the ripening process.
The peel will get spots and turn brown, but the fruit will stay the same as the time you put it in the fridge, prolonging the lifespan of your bananas for an additional week or even two.
The most important factor to keep in mind before putting bananas in the refrigerator is to wait until they are perfectly ripe for your tastes.
If you put them in the fridge before they are ripe, they’ll stay green, at least on the inside. The skin will still turn black, but the fruit won’t ripen.
Simply place them in the drawer for fruits, making sure the peel is still intact, and you’re done.
If you’re storing other fruit with the bananas or opening the drawer frequently, you may want to wrap the stems in plastic wrap, which we’ll talk more about in a minute.
Bananas are a friendly fruit and will gladly lend out their smell and flavor to some of the other things in your fridge, like bread and desserts.
If you’re storing bananas in your fridge, make sure all your foods are properly stored in air-tight containers or plastic wrap and you won’t accidentally have a banana-flavored turkey sandwich.
Also keep in mind that bananas are delicate fruits and bruise easily, so treat them accordingly.
The Best Ways to Keep Bananas Fresh
The most common way of keeping bananas longer is by wrapping the stems in plastic cling wrap. This prevents some of that gas bananas give off from reaching any other nearby fruit. This method is more efficient and convenient in the long run if you separate all the bananas and wrap each banana individually.
You can also hang your bananas on a banana tree away from sunlight. This prevents the bottoms from bruising and allows even airflow.
If you want to ripen bananas more quickly, they can be stored in an open paper bag with other types of fruit that are already ripe.
As we’ve already mentioned, as soon as your bananas are ripe to your liking, you can place them in the fridge.
Check out this video by Kitchen Tips Online on YouTube for more tips on keeping bananas fresher for longer.
The Best Banana Storage Containers
1. Joie Monkey Banana Storage Pod
If you hate bruised bananas and want to take extra precautions against them, you can keep your bananas safe in a specially designed storage container, like the one from Joie Monkey.
Aside from being a delightful yellow color on the bottom with a see-thru top featuring an adorable monkey, they’re very useful.
- Larger than most banana holders to accommodate even big bananas
- Made from FDA approved, BPA-free plastic
- Top-rack dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
Biggest Drawback: The only downfall to these pods is minor. If you happen to have a banana that has a significant curve to it, it might not fit quite right. These pods are designed for more ‘standard’ shaped bananas, not ones that are half a circle.
2. Fruit & Vegetable Fridge GreenBags
What if you have a whole bunch of bananas that you need to keep from over-ripening to quickly?
Fruits give off some gas after they have been cut from their tree. This gas is what accelerates the ripening process causing bananas to go from green to mush almost overnight.
You need to control the gas leak before it becomes a problem. Fridge GreenBags are terrific if you have a bunch of bananas to store, whether it be on the counter or in your refrigerator.
- Made with a natural mineral that removes the gas that fruit creates, preventing over-ripening
- Reusable – just wash, dry and store for the next time
- Made BPA-free in an independent facility right in the USA
- Durable – they’re perfect for packing travel snacks or even used as lunch bags
Biggest Drawback: The only downfall with the GreenBags is the occasional accumulation of moisture. But this is easily fixed by placing a paper towel inside the bag before you put your produce in them.
How Do Supermarkets Keep Bananas Fresh?
Have you noticed that the bananas in your favorite produce section are always nearly perfect? There are two reasons for this anomaly.
- Bananas are harvested when they’re still green.
- Between the tree and the store, they’re blasted with ethylene gas, the same gas they release naturally. This produces the nice yellow color we look for in our bananas.
- To help keep them from over-ripening on the shelves, they’re always displayed away from apples, tomatoes, and avocados because those fruits emit that same gas naturally
- Bananas are the #1 selling fruit everywhere, so they’re constantly being sold.
- It is very unlikely that you’re seeing the same bananas even half an hour after you first looked at them.
- On the off chance that a bunch of bananas has time in the supermarket to brown, they get moved to a sale rack away from the yellow ones.
How to Keep Bananas from Ripening
Some people prefer their bananas to stay green. They’re firmer and less sweet, and there are always a few at the supermarket this color.
Here’s how to keep bananas from ripening:
- Peel and slice your banana and very lightly coat them in lemon juice or vinegar and store them in an airtight container or zip bag in the fridge.
Be careful when you use this method, too much lemon or vinegar, and your sweet banana will become quite tart.
How to Keep Bananas from Turning Brown
Bananas are one of the most delicate fruits. To delay the browning effect, display them in a glass bowl with unripe, hard green avocados.
The bananas will share the gas they put out with the avocados it will help ripen your avocados while slowing the browning effect of your bananas at the same time.
Another way to prevent browning is to wrap the stems of each banana in plastic and put them together with any other fruits that are still ‘green’. They can be stored this way in a paper bag or a bowl on the counter or table.
Can You Put Bananas in the Freezer?
If your bananas still become over-ripe and a mushy, don’t throw them out! You can freeze them.
You put them in the freezer just as they are, with the peel and all. Although this way is convenient at the moment, it can be annoying when it comes time to thaw and use them.
Bananas that have been frozen with their peel on and then thawed before use, become a slimy mess and nearly impossible to peel without getting mashed banana everywhere.
To avoid the mess, peel and wrap your whole bananas individually before putting them in the freezer. You can also slice your bananas into bite-sized chunks, spread them out on a baking sheet, and freeze the pieces individually.
Once they’re frozen solid they can be transferred to a freezer-safe airtight container and they won’t clump together.
You can also mash them before freezing, which is a great option for smoothies and baking. For great info on freezing bananas check out this article, How to Freeze Mashed Bananas.
Should banana bread be refrigerated?
Banana bread is a favorite treat for so many people. It’s soft, moist, and delicious. It can be stored lightly wrapped on the counter for a couple of days, but if you can’t eat the whole loaf within two days you need to store it in your fridge.
The moisture from the bananas will cause banana bread to mold faster than regular bread at room temperature. Wrap your banana loaf well in plastic wrap or use a spare bread bag secured tightly.
Banana bread can be stored for a week or slightly more in the fridge. You’ll need to keep it wrapped at all times, however, so it doesn’t share the banana flavor with your other foods.
By the way, if you are a fan of making banana bread, check out our review of the best flours for banana bread!
How do you prevent fruit flies?
Fruit flies are a common nuisance with counter fruits. Sometimes the fruit you take home from the store already has microscopic fruit fly eggs attached to it. To prevent them from hatching in your home, wash the outside of all fruits when you get home.
Make sure the whole fruit is dried completely before storing it. What’s worse, flies or mold? Better to avoid both by making sure fruits and veggies are clean and dry.
To further lessen the chance of a fruit fly plague in your kitchen you can store your fruit in the microwave, oven, or even toaster oven to keep them at room temperature yet sealed. Just don’t forget to remove them before turning on the heat.
Can you refrigerate avocados?
Similar to bananas, avocados go from not ripe, to just right, to overripe seemingly overnight. The good news is you absolutely can store avocados in the refrigerator. You just have to get the timing right.
Refrigeration drastically slows the ripening process. If you put an avocado in the fridge before it’s ripe enough, it will take forever to be edible.
On the flip side, if you put an avocado in the fridge when it starts to get mushy, it won’t only stay mushy, but it may speed up the ripening of the other produce in your fridge.
As soon as your avocado is exactly the way you want it, you need to either eat it immediately or put it in the fridge.