How Long Do Bananas Last? Tips To Keep Longer

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A fresh yellow banana is a treat for the eyes and the taste buds, but these tropical fruits take a little planning. If you enjoy a daily banana and don’t want your purchase going to waste, try not to buy more than you can consume in a week.

How Long Does It Take For A Banana To Ripen? Bananas purchased green from the store will take three to four days to fully ripen. Once they are fully yellow, they’re ready to eat, and you can expect that traditional banana sweetness you’ve become accustomed to.

How To Make Bananas Last Longer

Bananas are a tropical fruit, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they ripen best in high humidity. Additionally, the warmer the conditions, the faster they’ll ripen.

banana ripening process

It’s important to keep an eye on skin color. A green banana is unripe. Over time, the body of the banana will yellow, while the tips stay green. Eventually, the entire fruit is yellow, indicating that it is edible.

When brown freckles appear, it’s still edible. However, if the whole fruit turns brown, it’s only useful for baking.

If it’s black, you’ve missed the boat – your banana is rotten and should be tossed.

Can You Refrigerate Bananas?

Green bananas should not be put in the refrigerator. They’ll never develop into their full flavor if the ripening process is halted at the green stage. These bananas will just turn black.

However, once bananas are fully yellow, you can probably help them keep for a few extra days by putting them in the refrigerator. Keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not spoiling at the back of the shelf, and enjoy!

How Long Do Bananas Last In The Freezer?

The advent of smoothies makes it easy to put your brown bananas to work. If you have extra bananas that you won’t get around to eating in time, pop them in the freezer – frozen mashed bananas are a great addition to banana bread, muffins and cakes.

You can freeze bananas both peeled and unpeeled, whole or sliced. If you’re planning on using them for smoothies, experts with All Recipes recommend peeling and slicing the bananas into smaller portions so you can control how much you add.

To freeze your bananas:

  1. Peel and slice them onto parchment paper or a cookie sheet.
  2. Let the banana slices freeze solid (just a couple of hours should do it)
  3. Store them in a dated freezer bag.

You should have six months of great banana flavor if you keep them in airtight storage.

Bananas stop ripening once frozen, so it’s a good idea to let them get a little brown before you freeze them, to ensure you get the best sugar out of the fruit.

How To Tell When A Banana Has Gone Bad

A fresh, ripe banana is yellow. It may have a few brown freckles, but large brown spots indicate that the ripening process has gone too far. The sugars in the flesh of the banana have gone over and it’s now ready to be added to banana bread.

It’s important to note that green bananas are great for transporting, yellow bananas are wonderful for eating and brown bananas work well for bread. The darker the banana, the more sugars have gone over or spoiled (does sugar go bad?). However, spoiled bananas are not necessarily dangerous.

rotten bananas

Experts recommend sniffing bananas for a mildew-like or moldy scent. If it still just smells like a banana, even if it’s dark, it is still edible or can be used in baking.

Why Do Bananas Turn Brown?

Bananas ripen because they emit ethylene gas and are in a constant state of ripening. If you buy them green, you can store them at room temperature until they turn yellow. Once they’re ripe, it’s possible to put them in the refrigerator to slow any further ripening process.

Placing green bananas in the refrigerator will prevent the ripening process, ruin the sweet flavor of the banana, and, worst of all, they’ll still turn black. Best to let them yellow on the counter and eat them when they’re ready.

If you love bananas and find a great sale, it’s tempting to stock up. But be aware that you may wind up with more ripe bananas than you can comfortably eat. Once they’re fully yellow, you can stash a couple in the refrigerator to gain the benefit of that two to three day stretch. If the yellow skin goes brown, it’s time to start freezing.

Banana Hacks

The ethylene gas that ripens bananas also ripens tomatoes (how to get tomatoes to ripen), so you’ll want to keep both fruits out of the refrigerator, but not necessarily together, or they will speed up each other’s processes!

There are recommendations from several sources that separating unripe bananas and wrapping the stems in foil or plastic can slow the ripening process. Experts ran this experiment in their own kitchens with two bunches of bananas.

The final results demonstrated that separating and wrapping actually don’t make a difference in your banana ripening schedules. You can save yourself time, hassle and space by leaving them in the bunch and eating them before they turn brown.

Final Thoughts

Yellow bananas are great for eating, brown bananas are wonderful for baking, and green bananas can stay right on the counter until they’re edible. If you’re looking for great banana baking recipes, consider going old school.

Bananas were once hard to buy and a tropical delicacy. The folks who put together the old community and church cookbooks knew how to use up every bit of food, whether over-ripe or not.

A favorite banana bread recipe comes from depression-era recipes gathered by Rita Van Amber. The recipes in this series of cookbooks were all gathered from the thrifty folks who survived the privations of the 1930’s in the frozen northern United States. These recipes are easy to follow, simple to shop for, and best of all, delicious.

A bright yellow banana is a delight to the senses. You can maximize your enjoyment of this healthy and yummy treat by shopping carefully. Don’t overbuy, and plan for three to four days of ripening if you buy green. Use them up before they brown too much, and if your bananas are going over, peel and freeze!

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.