Like all other fruits, bananas do go bad at some point. But if you’ve bought a big bunch of them, it’s good to know how to store them so they last as long as they can.
Plus storing bananas isn’t quite as straightforward as getting them home and putting into the pantry or fridge. Unless, of course, you don’t care much when they spoil. There are hundreds of articles with misleading titles saying that you shouldn’t refrigerate bananas. So if you’re a bit confused about what’s the best way to store bananas, that’s normal.
In this article, we go through storage, shelf life, and going bad of bananas. We also touch upon dried bananas, if that’s your thing. If you’d like to level up your knowledge about bananas, read on.
Image used under Creative Commons from =ChevalieR=
How to Store Bananas
Let’s start with choosing bananas when you’re at your local supermarket. If you need the bananas the same or the next day, go for yellow, ripe bananas. If you have no plans to consume or use the fruit right away, go with green bananas or ones that are about to ripen. This way you will have a couple days before the fruit ripens as is in the best quality for eating. Now let’s talk about what to do with the fruit when you get home.
How To Store Unripe Bananas
When it comes to unripe bananas, the best place to store them is the pantry, but the kitchen can work too. You can place the banana either on the counter or in a fruit bowl. Just set the bananas in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight, and leave the fruit to ripen slowly over time. Don’t put unripe bananas in the fridge, as they will have trouble ripening and probably won’t turn out as good as they usually do.
If you, however, are in a hurry to ripen the bananas, there is a trick that helps with that. Place the fruit in a brown paper bag and fold the opening. This traps the ethylene gas that the fruit emits, and that’s responsible for the ripening process. That’s why it’s often not recommended to store bananas near other fruits or veggies. Within a few days, the bananas should be perfectly ripe.
How To Store Ripe Bananas
Now let’s talk about ripe bananas. If you plan on consuming or using them within a day or two, you can keep them at room temperature. For longer storage time, refrigerating is the better choice. Sure, you can leave them at room temperature, but within a few days there will be black spots on the skin and the quality of the fruit will quickly degrade. So the fridge is the go-to choice for ripe bananas. That’s because cool temperature slows down the ripening process, and that’s why we store many fruits and veggies in the fridge. No need for any fancy packaging, just chunk the bunch into the fridge, and you’re good to go. Please note that refrigeration will make the skin of the banana black, but the flesh will remain unharmed.
If you peel the banana and cut it up in preparation for a smoothie or a baking project, you need to wrap those slices tightly and refrigerate. An environment-friendly way to do that is by using a resealable freezer bag, but a plastic wrap or aluminum foil will do the job too. Those slices will brown quite quickly unless you sprinkle them with some lemon or lime juice.
How To Store Dried Bananas
When it comes to dried bananas, the place best place to store them is usually the pantry or kitchen, in a place that’s cool and dry. If you live in a hot and humid climate, the fridge is a better option. Once you open the package, either seal it tightly or if that’s not possible, put it in an airtight container. That’s especially important if you store the dried goods in the fridge, where it’s humid and dried bananas can easily pick up moisture.
Image used under Creative Commons from Mike Mozart
How Long Do Bananas Last
Green or unripe bananas should take two to 5 days until they ripen. Unless, of course, you speed up the process with the trick described in the storage section. Once the bananas are ripe, they should retain freshness for about 2 to 3 days in the pantry or about a week in the fridge.
When it comes to cut bananas, they last in good condition for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
Last but not least, dried bananas. They usually come with a best-by date on the label. Obviously, since it’s dried fruit, it doesn’t spoil a week or month after that date, but over time the quality of it degrades. So it’s best to finish the package within a couple of months past the date on the label tops.
|Banana (green or unripe)||2 – 5 days, until ripe|
|Banana (ripe)||5 – 7 days|
|Banana (cut)||2 – 3 days|
|Dried banana||Best-by||Best-by + 2 – 4 months|
Please note that the periods above are estimates.
How to Tell if Banana Is Bad?
When fully ripe, bananas have firm flesh and bright yellow peel. As the bananas over-ripen, brown spots will start developing on the peel. Please note that dark spots on the peel alone do not mean the fruit is bad. The once-firm flesh will start turning mushy and brown, and that’s the time you should start thinking about discarding the fruit. If the banana starts to leak liquid, it’s time for it to go. In short, once you peel the banana, you should see right away if it’s good enough to use or not.
When it comes to dried bananas, if moisture got to the package, there will be mold. Given that there’s no mold, and the fruits are past the date on the label, give a piece a taste. If it’s good enough, feel free to eat or use the rest of them. If the taste doesn’t hit the spot, throw out the package.