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Bananas are the ticking time bomb of fruit. It often seems like you only have about one day to enjoy ripe bananas before they turn into baddies and start attracting legions of fruit flies. One minute they’re too green to eat, the next minute, they’re so brown that they’re only good for banana bread.
So how can you lengthen that sweet spot period when they are yummy, yellow and perfectly ripe?
Here are a few tips for storing bananas so that they will stay ripe and not rotten as long as possible:
Invest In A Banana Hanger
One of the best ways to keep bananas safe from rotting is with a banana hanger. Bruised fruit is going to go rotten quickly, because it harms the skin and jeopardizes its ability to protect the fruit from oxygen and cellular breakdown. To keep your bananas safe from micro-bruising, you can store a bunch on a banana hanger, like this fruit basket with banana hanger on Amazon for $17.99. A banana hanger will keep your bananas safe from bruising and ensure that your fruit lasts as long as possible.
Think Outside The Kitchen Counter
Warmth and light are two of the biggest offenders when it comes to the rapid ripening of fruit. And the kitchen is probably the room in your house that is the brightest and warmest! So if you want to keep your bananas safe from over-ripening, you might think about storing them somewhere other than the kitchen counter. Consider storing your bananas in a place that is cool and dark, far away from the oven and other heat or light sources.
Use Plastic Wrap On The Stems
Have you ever noticed that the bananas at the grocery store often have plastic wrap on their stems? This isn’t just happenstance: That plastic wrap on the stems is there to help the bananas stay fresh and delay over-ripening.
When bananas ripen, their stems release ethylene gas, and when it spreads to the rest of the fruit, it will quickly ripen and then cause the fruit to rot. The plastic wrap around the stem keeps the ethylene gas contained so the bananas stay safe. So use this grocery store trick by either keeping the plastic wrap around the stems, or adding your own.
You can also break apart the bananas and wrap each stem in plastic wrap individually, so that they ripen individually (one browner one can bring down the whole bunch), or do them as a bunch. After wrapping the stems in plastic wrap, you can then place the bananas in a plastic grocery bag and clip them shut with a chip clip or a rubber band.
Pop Them In The Fridge
You can store bananas in the fridge to delay their browning process. But you need to make sure that the bananas are already at your desired ripeness before you stick them in the refrigerator. If you put green ‘naners in the fridge, they will probably stay that way. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, if you put bananas into the refrigerator too soon, they are at risk of “chilling injury” that will make them taste yucky and bitter.
Use Lemon Juice
If you want to keep sliced bananas from going brown (like if you are using them in a fruit salad or putting them in your kid’s bento box), sprinkle a little lemon juice on top of the bananas after you slice them. The lemon juice will keep the bananas from turning brown or getting mushy, and you shouldn’t be able to taste the lemon flavor in the final product.
If still end up with too-ripe bananas, you can try some of these fun banana bread recipes, like this chocolate spice banana bread, caramel macchiato banana bread, or for something truly decadent, banana bread bottom cheesecake.