Fresh bananas are one of the most satisfying fruits you can eat. Not only are they tasty and relatively easy to consume compared to many other juicy fruits, but they’re also packed with great nutrition. However, every banana eater has a preference for the perfect amount of ripeness. Some like them green, others prefer them a bright and sunny yellow.
But what do you do with your bananas once the dreaded brown spots have begun to appear? Many people choose to mash over-ripe bananas for baking purposes. If you’ve more mushed fruit than you can reasonably bake with at the moment, you might be wondering if you can freeze your mashed banana.
So can you freeze mashed bananas? The answer is yes, you certainly can. The best way is by freezing mashed bananas in an air-tight container or freezer bag, taking care to make sure that all of the air has been squeezed out.
There are many ways to freeze bananas and this article will provide you with all the best practices, pros, and cons of freezing mashed bananas and many other ways as well.
How to Freeze Mashed Bananas
Freezing mashed bananas is very easy. Once you’ve peeled and mashed your bananas to the consistency that you want them, all you have to do is place the mash either into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
When bananas freeze they tend to develop more moisture than they have when they’re fresh, so you don’t need to puree your banana before freezing, but rather simply mash it with a fork.
Upon thawing, it will naturally be softer and will blend easily into anything you’re baking.
If you use a bag, squeeze as much air out as possible before carefully sealing tight. If you use a Tupperware container, it’s a good idea to place a layer of plastic wrap over the very surface of the bananas before sealing the container with its airtight lid.
This will protect your bananas from exposure to the air, which can cause the surface to develop ice crystals, making your bananas watery upon defrosting.
If you know ahead of time what you’re going to be using your mashed bananas for, it’s a great idea to store it in the appropriate serving size so that you don’t have to worry about measuring out partial qualities of frozen mashed banana, which can be a pain, to say the least.
If you want another way to freeze mashed bananas. Check out this video by ThrifyFun.
How long will bananas stay fresh in the freezer?
If they’re properly stored, you can keep your bananas in the freezer for up to 6 months. It’s always a good idea to label your bags or containers with the date frozen so you know their best before usage recommendations.
After about 3 or 4 months, your bananas will start to very slowly lose their flavor, so the sooner you can use them, the tastier your recipe will be.
You may also want to label your container with a note about how ripe the bananas were when you froze them. The riper your banana is, the sweeter it will be.
If you’re adding banana to a recipe, this will affect the taste of the final output, so it’s helpful to make a note when freezing so you know what you’re going to have to work with when you thaw your banana.
Alternative Ways to Freeze Bananas
Before you freeze your bananas it’s important to note that once they’re in the freezer, they will not continue to ripen. The peel will brown, but the banana itself will stay the same.
If you freeze a green banana, when you thaw it, it will be just as starchy and tough as it was when you first placed it in the freezer. This is important to pay attention to, depending on what you plan on using your bananas for in the future.
1. Whole, with the peel
If you’ve got a bunch of bananas attracting fruit flies and making your kitchen smell sweet, the quickest and easiest way to freeze bananas is whole, with their peeling left on.
You can simply pop them into your freezer as is and they’ll freeze perfectly well without any additional protective wrapping.
The peeling will go brown in the freezer, but the inner fruit will stay at the same level of ripeness as when you first froze it, regardless of what the exterior looks like.
When you thaw the bananas, the peeling will become very soft and somewhat slimy, but this is completely normal and nothing to be worried about. It won’t affect the quality of your bananas in the slightest, but it can be a messy process and a bit unappealing if you’re the squeamish type.
2. Whole, without the peel
If you’re planning on using your bananas for baking and would prefer to take a few extra minutes upfront in order to save you the future slimy job of peeling a previously frozen banana, you can freeze your whole bananas without the peel.
For best results, wrap each banana individually in plastic wrap and then place them all together into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
If you do not wrap them individually, they will mush into each other and freeze together in a clump. They’re also more prone to developing ice crystals this way, which will affect the texture and moisture levels of your bananas when you’re ready to use them.
Try to lay the bananas flat, rather than shoving them into your freezer haphazardly to avoid squishing or breaking them before they’re frozen.
3. In bite-sized pieces
If you’re planning on using your frozen bananas for smoothies, ice cream or in breakfast cereals, it might be useful to peel and slice your bananas into appropriate bite-sized pieces.
- To make sure the pieces don’t stick together in a big clump, start by lining a baking tray with parchment paper and spreading out your banana pieces so that they aren’t touching each other.
- Place them in the freezer uncovered for around 30 minutes until each piece is individually frozen.
- After this, you can collect all your banana pieces and place them in a single freezer-safe Ziploc bag or airtight Tupperware container.
Caution: Frozen Bananas Share Their Flavor
Before packing your bananas into your freezer at random, take a few minutes to adjust the contents to be sure that everything surrounding the bananas is packed in a thick, somewhat impenetrable container, preferably glass but good plastic or silicon is also acceptable.
Unless you don’t mind your frozen food to have even the faintest yet noticeable banana flavoring, be extra careful about keeping distance between any frozen bread and pastries and your bananas.
All bananas like to share, but the riper the banana, the more flavor will migrate over to your other frozen goods, so keep this in mind when stacking your freezer.
How to Thaw Frozen Bananas
How you thaw your bananas will depend on how you decided to freeze them and what you’re planning on doing with them.
To thaw frozen bananas for baking, you can choose any of the following methods to defrost your fruit:
- Place the sealed frozen bananas on a plate or in a bowl on your counter and let it thaw to room temperature.
- Keep the bananas tightly sealed in a container and let it sit in a large bowl, pot or sink of lukewarm (not hot!) water until it’s completely defrosted.
- Remove bananas from container or bag and place in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave in short bursts of 20 seconds, stirring to the best of your ability in between until the banana is thawed.
If you’ve frozen your banana to use in a no-bake recipe or for breakfast cereals etc, it’s best to avoid warming the fruit in any way before you use it.
For best results, simply place the still-sealed bag or container on a plate on your counter and let it slowly thaw to room temperature before using it.
If you’re going to add your banana to a smoothie or ice cream blend, you can use it frozen and not worry about defrosting it at all.
The best use for frozen bananas is to make banana bread! You can find the best flour for making banana bread in this article.
How to ripen a banana quickly?
If you’re going to eat the banana as a snack, the best way to get it ripe fairly quickly is to place it in a paper bag in a warm, but not hot, location. Fold over the top of the bag so that some air can circulate, but the ethylene gas produced by the fruit will help it ripen quicker.
You can also add an apple to the bag to increase the amount of gas and therefore the speed of ripening, which can reduce the process from 3 – 4 days to overnight in many cases.
If you want instantly ripe bananas so that you can bake with them, you can place your bananas, with the peel on, into your oven on low heat for 15 minutes or so. You can also place them in a microwave for short bursts of 30 seconds until the banana is soft enough for your purposes.
How many cups is a medium banana?
To get yourself 1 cup of mashed banana, you’ll typically need about 3 medium bananas.
This isn’t exact and if your recipe is very particular, you will want to measure every time, but for a loaf of standard banana bread, a little more or less banana won’t affect the turnout of your bread in any noticeable way.
Does freezing a banana reduce its nutritional value?
No, actually freezing fruit is a great way to preserve its nutritional value. Bananas are interesting fruits; as they ripen their nutritional value actually changes slightly. The fruit itself gets sweeter and less starchy because the starch converts to sugar.
This will generally make it easier to digest, though it will affect your blood sugar levels more. As soon as it’s frozen, the nutrients are frozen as well, keeping the fruit as healthy as it was the day you placed it in your freezer.