In 2017 alone, the global banana consumption volume was a whopping 116.2 million tonnes!
And the number is projected to soar higher (136 million tonnes by 2025)!
Anytime you walk around, you can’t miss seeing bunches of bananas.
These mundane, perennial fruits are not only potassium-rich, they come in handy when you don’t have time to make a snack. You can enjoy them all day, all the time!
Whether you are a humble banana farmer or a homemaker seeking to nourish your family with bananas, knowing how to store bananas, how to keep them fresh longer, how to freeze or prevent fruit flies from ravaging them is inevitable.
This comprehensive guide gives you all these tips, so stick around and learn!
Where is the best place to store bananas?
Whereas there is no one-size-fits-all criteria for the best place to store bananas, there are a few pointers to consider before choosing your ideal location:
Ripeness – as you will discover in this post, green bananas don’t do well in the refrigerator.
Number of bananas – for household consumption, avoid buying bananas in bulk. Purchasing what you need is crucial in reducing food wastage. It also ensures that you are able to maximize on food storage space.
On the other hand, if you are a banana farmer and produce large-scale amounts, look for a conducive location.
Suitable banana storage conditions are:
- Room temperature for green or unripe bananas.
- Cool temperature for ripe bananas
- Clean, hygienic conditions – a clean storage space as well clean bananas.
How do you keep bananas from turning brown?
Bananas thrive in room temperature where they ripen easily. The best way to keep bananas from turning brown is to purchase them when slightly unripe.
This creates ample time for ripening as you eat them slowly.
Besides this, here are a few tips that come in handy:
- Never place bananas in plastic bags. Leaving them uncovered prevents bananas from ripening fast.
- Store bananas using a “wire banana tree”. This keeps them in a standing position. It also prevents browning on sides which is usually caused by laying bananas on a surface. With as little as $12 for a wire banana tree, you are set for fresh fruits for a few weeks.
- Use ethylene absorbing systems. They come in different forms such as sachets or balls. Find them in Amazon and other household stores. To use them, place both your bananas and ethylene absorbers in a banana storage container – glass or mason jars come in handy. Only use plastic containers that are labelled BPA-free.
- Cover the container and place on your kitchen counter. Keep checking after every few days and you’ll be surprised at how fresh your bananas still are.
- For sliced, peeled or cut bananas, squeeze a few drops of lime juice, lemon juice or regular white vinegar. This prevents oxidation which causes browning.
Can you refrigerate bananas?
Putting bananas in the fridge seems odd, but not for ripe ones. You can actually refrigerate ripe bananas. It comes in handy when you do not feel like eating already ripe bananas right away. The cool temperatures keep them from ripening further.
Storing bananas in fridge is effortless:
- Clean or wipe off any visible soil.
- Store bananas in the vegetable crisper drawer. Before doing this, clean your crisper drawer. Dirt and residues inside your fridge are conducive for bacterial growth as well as food contamination.
- In case you have big bunches, divide into smaller bunches that you can use once.
- Expect discoloration on skin – the peels will start to blacken after a few days. Not a cause of concern though, as the flesh will remain firm and sweet!
How long do ripe bananas last in the fridge?
Refrigerated ripe bananas last between 1-2 weeks. This depends on how ripe the bananas were before refrigeration.
How to make bananas last longer
Keep bananas fresh with foil.
Wrap each individual banana stem with tin foil, as opposed to wrapping an entire bunch.
Not only is this one of the best ways to store bananas, it also mitigates emission and spread of ethylene gas which is prevalent in bananas. Ethylene gas hastens ripening.
Keep them dry
This is one of the most effective ways of keeping bananas fresh longer.
Moisture softens the peel, resulting in deterioration. This method also works well when packing food.
For instance, if you want to keep bananas fresh in lunch boxes, clean well and dry thoroughly before packing.
Line your lunch box with a paper towel which absorbs moisture.
Freezing bananas prolongs their shelf life. However, you need to be aware of a few points:
Frozen bananas are best used in other ways other than eating. For instance, use them in smoothies, pies or ice cream.
Never freeze green bananas. Once thawed, they will not ripen.
How do you freeze bananas?
Here is a straightforward process of how to freeze bananas:
- Select evenly ripe bananas – avoid mixing overly ripe bananas with slightly ripe ones.
- Clean well before peeling. In as much as you will peel, always clean fruits beforehand. This prevents transfer of dirt or germs into your hands. A better option is to put on rubber gloves.
- Slice evenly to your liking – either in half or little rounds.
- Arrange on a lined baking sheet.
- Sprinkle any readily available acidic juice.
- Flash-freeze for a few hours – 4 hours are enough to harden bananas. Flash-freezing involves freezing food for a few hours before long-term storage.
Once frozen, the next step entails storage. Here is a quick tip on how to store bananas in the freezer:
- Transfer the frozen pieces into freezer-friendly bags such as Ziploc bags.
- Squeeze out any trapped air as you are closing the bags.
- Label the bags – write the date you froze them. This gives you closure in how long they can be used. In addition, dates allow you to know which ones to use first, in case you freeze some more in future.
As a general rule of thumb, first-in-first-out works perfectly for frozen bananas.
On that note, knowing the shelf life of frozen bananas is imperative. Well frozen bananas last for 6 months.
To make your bananas last even longer, preserve them using the following technique:
Moisture extraction is a surefire way of making food last longer. This is how to dehydrate bananas:
- Peel and remove strings.
- Slice into desired shapes.
- For drying, you have the option of using an oven, a food dehydrator or natural sunlight. Just keep in mind that when using sunlight, you will attract fruit flies and other insects, hence avoid this.
- Lay them on a lined tray.
- If using an oven, leave them for several hours or overnight. A food dehydrator is faster. ‘
- Keep tossing them after a few hours to ensure uniform drying.
- Once well dried, leave to cool before transferring to airtight bags.
Store in the pantry, away from direct heat.
Banana jerks last up to 2 years when unopened.
Alternatively, you can go a notch higher and grind the banana jerks into flour. Banana flour is a great gluten-free alternative.
Other quick ways of making bananas last longer:
- Never store green bananas near sunlight or heat emitting appliances. These could be near your stove, kettle or toaster. Heat exacerbates ripening, so if you want your bananas to last longer, avoid this!
- Avoid mixing green bananas with ethylene producing foods like tomatoes.
How to store bananas to prevent fruit flies
Ever wondered why fruit flies hover around bananas? These pesky insects are easily attracted by sweet smelling aromas such as those emanating from ripe bananas.
Besides this, poor hygiene, opening such as doors as well as light are common contributing factors.
How can you then store bananas to prevent fruit flies?
- It all starts right after purchasing, either from the store or local market – ensure you thoroughly clean bananas before storage. Cleaning eradicates any eggs or larva that may have lodged onto the skin.
- Use the age-old fly-trapping method. Fill a container with apple cider vinegar mixed with liquid soap. Place the container on your kitchen counter, away from traffic. The fruit flies will be attracted to the sweet-smelling cider. As soon as they crawl into the container, they will drown due to high density of the liquid soap.
- Refrigerate ripe bananas as discussed above. This keeps them out of the flies’ sight.
- Store bananas in covered containers to prevent the fruit flies from reaching them. This is especially if you have kept them on the counter.
Final thoughts on how to store bananas
By practicing effective ways of how to store bananas, you get to enjoy them all year round, anytime and anywhere. Moreover, you can hack these banana storage tips with your eyes shut!