Hands up if you’ve ever found some frozen bananas in the freezer that you just can’t remember putting in there!
While we would all love to say that we label everything we put in the freezer, in reality, it is not unusual to find fruit such as bananas that could have been in there for years.
So, how can you tell if frozen bananas are bad? Frozen bananas that have gone bad will have changed in color, smell, and consistency. Frozen bananas should smell sweet, and any sour or unpleasant smell indicates that they have gone bad and should be thrown out.
Worried about some suspicious bananas lurking at the back of your freezer? We have got all the answers and more for you!
We will also look at how to store frozen bananas safely and how to keep them in the best possible condition.
Why Freeze Bananas?
If you’re on a tight budget or simply trying to avoid food waste, bananas can be a huge problem!
Perfectly ripe one day, then they turn black and mushy seemingly overnight. Hugely frustrating, especially when you end up throwing them out!
Preserving bananas for longer by freezing them is one of the best-kept secrets of the culinary world.
By using the freezer you can extend the shelf life of bananas for several months, whilst also greatly expanding the ways in which the bananas can be used.
When fruit is frozen, it is notorious for turning mushy when thawed. This is because of the high water content of the fruit, and bananas are no exception to this rule.
However, when it comes to using up a glut of bananas, this is actually somewhat of an advantage!
Whilst bananas that have been frozen might lose their firm consistency, they gain a smooth and creamy texture that works incredibly well in a variety of dishes.
The most common way in which frozen bananas are used is in smoothies and fruit drinks. They can be blended with other juices and fruits to create a delicious and nutritious beverage.
Frozen bananas are also great for baking, especially cakes, muffins, banana bread, banana pancakes…you get the idea!
And some people even enjoy eating whole bananas that have been frozen. What they lose in firmness they gain in terms of sweet, creamy flavor. Give it a try, you might enjoy it!
How Long Do Bananas Last In The Freezer?
If prepared and stored correctly, bananas can last for up to 6 months in the freezer. However, this greatly depends on the way in which they are stored.
Bananas contain a high proportion of water, and this changes the texture of banana that has been frozen and then thawed.
Whilst the majority of the time this gives the banana a creamier texture, sometimes the water can crystallize and create an unpleasant texture.
Another common problem that can occur when freezing bananas is freezer burn. This happens when the frozen banana is exposed to moisture and air, both of which are detrimental to any type of frozen food.
Food that has suffered from freezer burn is not unsafe to eat, but it will have an unpleasant texture and potentially altered flavor.
This can also happen to bananas that have been frozen for too long> Ideally, frozen bananas should be labeled with a ‘use by’ date so we eat them while they are at their best.
But if not, we’ve got everything you need to know about how to tell if frozen bananas are bad!
How To Tell If Frozen Bananas Are Bad
Although most nutritionists advise that bananas can be frozen for up to six months, this is only a guide.
How long bananas will stay good in the freezer depends on many factors, including how ripe they were when frozen, the preparation technique used, and the environmental conditions of the freezer.
So, even if you’ve remembered to label your bananas with the date they were frozen, it is still essential to check them thoroughly before consuming them.
Here are some of the changes to look out for when bananas have gone bad in the freezer:
Frozen bananas will not have a distinctive odor, but when they are thawed a little bit they should start to smell sweet and, well, like bananas!
If you note a sour or off smell, the bananas have likely started to go bad. The only banana that is safe to eat is that which smells like banana, so if you have any doubts then throw it away!
A banana that has been frozen and defrosted does not have the same texture as an unfrozen banana.
When fruits are frozen, the water inside the cells of the fruit swells up, causing the cells to burst. As the fruit defrosts, the water thaws and turns the texture of the fruit mushy.
So, if your frozen bananas are mushy when defrosted, this does not mean that they have gone bad! However, there are some key indicators to look for that might mean your bananas have turned bad.
If you see any sliminess on the surface of the frozen bananas, this could mean that they have started to turn bad.
And any leathery or dry texture may mean that the frozen bananas have suffered from freezer burn. These are not unsafe to eat, but will not be pleasant!
One key thing to remember about the color of frozen bananas is that if you’ve frozen them whole in their skins, the peel will turn brown or black.
This does not mean that the banana flesh inside is bad, but is purely a natural change that happens when the banana peel is frozen.
The part you need to look at in terms of color is the flesh of the banana. Because it has been frozen and thawed, it will not look like fresh banana flesh. It may be slightly translucent, and be slightly lighter or darker in color than a raw banana.
However, if the color is significantly darker, this could be a sign that the frozen banana is bad. Any pale areas are likely to indicate freezer burn of the banana, and this should also be discarded.
What Is The Best Way To Freeze Bananas?
If you’ve got a bunch of bananas that are approaching the overripe phase, there are a range of different ways you can freeze them:
Frozen Whole Bananas
Bananas can be frozen whole inside their skins, but this will turn black and soft in the freezer. This is not only ugly but also very difficult to remove from a frozen banana. For the best results, whole bananas should be peeled before freezing.
Gently remove the peel from the bananas, and lay them on a baking sheet. Pop the sheet into the freezer for around an hour, until the bananas are frozen solid.
Frozen Banana Slices
If you’re planning on using your frozen bananas for baking or smoothies, then freezing them in batches of slices is the most convenient method to use. Peel the bananas first, then slice them into ½-inch thick rounds.
Frozen Mashed Banana
We have another article all about freezing mashed bananas, but we’ll give you the gist.
Banana mash is a versatile ingredient that is ideal for making quick breakfast pancakes or banana ice cream. This is the most suitable method for those slightly overripe bananas, that have got brown spots on the skin.
Peel the bananas and mash them in a bowl. Place the mash in small airtight containers – use a suitable size to give you the perfect portions for your banana-based recipes.
Write the quantity and date on the container, to help you easily identify it in the future.
If you’re more of a visual learner, take a look at this video from Ashley The Recipe Rebel on YouTube.
How To Defrost Frozen Banana
Bananas thaw quite quickly at room temperature, so all you need to do is remember to take them out of the freezer a couple of hours before you need them.
They will ooze a bit of water as they defrost, so put them onto a plate or dish to catch the juice.
For bananas that were frozen with the peel on, we’d advise removing this before the banana defrosts completely. Once the banana has thawed, it will be mushy, soft, and very difficult to peel!
Or if you are in a hurry, bananas can be defrosted in the microwave instead. Again, use a plate to catch the juices as they thaw out.
The defrost or low setting should be used, and it will only take a minute or two to defrost a small quantity of chopped bananas in the microwave.
Of course, it is not always necessary to defrost your frozen bananas at all! Frozen banana can be added straight to smoothies to add a creamy, chilled flavor, and mashed frozen banana makes incredible ice cream.