There are very few people in the world that decide to enjoy their bananas when they’re brown and mushy. Yet, no matter how fast we try to eat through our fruit basket, we always seem to get stuck with one prematurely ripened guy left behind. It seems like a simple thought: eat the whole bunch before they turn brown. But, next thing you know, it’s three days later and they’re reaching the point of no return. To reduce food waste, we’ve often gone down different paths in a last ditch effort to revive them. However, you can only make banana bread so many times and, while freezing bananas never fails, there are very few occurrences where we can take the time to defrost them.
To get a pulse on why bananas ripen so fast, we’re diving into a bit of the science behind it. The gist is that most fruits contain a gas called ethylene, which when exposed to oxygen, can cause the fruit to ripen rapidly. The more gas released, the riper the fruit gets. Bananas in particular have a lot of ethylene, causing them to brown faster. And, since they come in bunches, the bruises are sometimes caused by the bananas resting on each other. These two issues combined make bananas’ longevity more difficult to maintain.
Luckily, preserving the lives of your bananas is probably easier than you think. Here are some of the best ways to stretch the lifespan of your bananas so you can enjoy them for just a bit longer.
1. Hang Your Bananas
If you’re a habitual banana-eater, consider buying a banana hanger. It helps them to get even amounts of air and can eliminate any bruises from resting on the counter. It also aids in cutting back on the amount of oxygen that is exposed to the banana flesh, so they don’t ripen as fast. If you don’t have a banana tree at your disposal, you can get away with storing bananas in their own separate bowl to give them a little bit longer of a life span. Just be sure that the curve is facing the bottom of the bowl so that the fruit on top doesn’t burden the ones on the bottom. Leaving them in the bunch while they are hanging or sitting will also allow them to ripen just a tad bit slower.
One thing to be aware of is that bananas don’t store well with other fruits, mainly apples, avocados, figs, peaches, and tomatoes. They are known culprits for releasing a lot of ethylene gas, which causes bananas to prematurely ripen. This is why we recommend buying a separate bowl or a hanger without the attached fruit bowl. It may seem high maintenance, but it truly makes a difference.
Keeping them in a room temperature setting is also an effective tactic. Because of their tropical origins, bananas do not prefer cold temperatures, in fact they despise them. Chilling bananas before they are ripe takes away some of the sweetness, so store them at room temperature until they turn brown.
2. Wrap the Stems with Plastic Wrap
To keep the bunch fresher, tightly wrap just the stems with plastic wrap. Sometimes, you can buy them at the grocery store with the wrappers already on. Wrapping the stems of the bunch with saran wrap can reduce the amount of ethylene gas that is released, since most of it comes from the top of the bunch. Or, for better results, wrap each individual banana stem. Separating them ensures that the tops are fully wrapped so that the ethylene gas cannot escape. Because most bananas ripen at varying rates, detaching them will be your best option here. It also makes them easier to grab and go, instead of unwrapping and re-wrapping the plastic wrap every time. When you get home from the grocery store, go ahead and knock out this step so you can enjoy them through the week.
If you have a partial banana that you want to save, plastic wrap will do just the trick. Be sure to cover the open half of the banana and the peel. Stick it in the fridge and it will be saved. It’s still a good idea to eat it soon after, but there’s no reason to throw the half away.
3. Keep Banana Slices Fresh
Mixing banana slices with a little lemon juice can help them last longer. It may seem like a weird “life hack”, but the acidic juice will help discourage enzymatic browning, therefore making the bananas last longer. And no, it doesn’t impact the flavor at all. A bit of watered down vinegar will work just the same. A little goes a long way, so be sure not to douse them in acid. You can also use this trick on full bananas, and if they start to taste vinegar-y, just give them a quick rinse.
4. Carry Your Bananas Properly
Eating bananas for lunch at school or work is great but transporting them can be a little tricky. Bananas can get squished or bruised very easily if you aren’t careful. If you have any Tupperware or containers that will fit a banana, use it for taking them on-the-go.
If bananas are a routine staple of lunch box, you might as well go the extra mile and pick up a storage container, specifically designed for transporting the fruit. Chances are you will use it more than you think. Or, slice your banana before packing it. Also, be sure to keep bananas out of sunlight when you have them in your car in order to avoid premature ripening. As long as it has a proper container, your banana should last you until lunch.
Keeping bananas fresh may seem like a bit of a science project, but it’s definitely possible with a little extra care. If you can’t save them and they have already started to brown, you can still enjoy them in plenty of ways. Banana bread, banana muffins, and banana pancakes are a few yummy uses for your mushy bananas. Even some black bananas can be used in recipes.
We hope you feel encouraged to not give up on saving bananas. These tips should allow you to master the art of preserving bananas so you can enjoy their sweet flavor and soft texture for much longer.
With the turn of the years, you might be considering your resolutions for 2020. Many individuals resolve to eat healthier and start working out, but how often do people actually stick to these objectives? Sometimes, adjusting towards a healthy diet can be more challenging and more expensive than originally anticipated.
We get it: life gets busy, cravings creep in and suddenly cooking a healthy meal doesn’t seem so appealing. Well, if living a healthy lifestyle is top of your priorities for 2020, this blog post is for you! We’re sharing some fast, simple, and convenient ways to be healthy, compliments of a few of our favorite healthy banana recipes. Easy to make and full of flavor, eating healthier will suddenly feel like a breeze.
Before we get into the recipes, let’s discuss why bananas are such an amazing fruit to add into your diet. For starters, they are chock-full of potassium and fiber. Potassium is a vital nutrient in our bodies and helps keep our hearts healthy and our blood pressure under control. Fiber can help improve digestive health which is vulnerable to a variety of ailments. Bananas are also great sources of vitamin B6 and vitamin C which help your body maintain internal health. In fact, bananas have long been loved by athletes because they are such great sources of energy and can help reduce soreness or muscle cramps. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, they’re also an amazing alternative to a lot of ingredients and add sweetness to any recipe.
Of course, bananas are great on their own, but they can be even tastier and more filling when combined with other healthy ingredients. Since they are readily available all year round, these recipes can be enjoyed in any season (and at any time of the day). If you’re ready to start eating healthier 2020, try incorporating some of these recipes into your daily rotation.
Healthy Banana Bread
Banana bread is one of those classic, go-to baked goods that warms our bellies and can be enjoyed any time of day. This recipe takes it to another level, maintaining all the flavor without the processed sugars that most banana breads have. We love this bread for a rainy day when you need a last-minute crowd-pleaser. It is naturally sweetened with maple syrup and honey and can easily be made vegan or gluten-free. If you’re feeling adventurous, banana bread rewards creativity. Make this recipe your own by adding chopped walnuts or chocolate chips for some added texture.
Vegan Banana Pancakes
Who doesn’t love pancakes?! This recipe is so simple and only takes 20 minutes. It’s a quick and easy breakfast and these pancakes are just as fluffy as the real deal, sans any animal products. They are packed with potassium, which is great for cardiovascular health, and they are loaded with gut-healthy fiber. Try these healthy banana pancakes alone or with some fruit on top to add extra sweetness.
Vegan Banana Muffins with Sweet Apple Chunks
These muffins are as healthy as they are yummy and are a great breakfast for kids or adults. The recipe calls for browned bananas, which are full of their own natural sugar, and are sweet enough to replace granulated sugar. It’s a five-star recipe that proves how delicious vegan recipes can be! You will definitely find yourself eating multiple of these a day. Luckily, they’re so easy to whip up that you won’t have to worry about replenishing your supply 😉
Vegan Coconut Banana Cheesecake
You don’t have to give up sweets in order to stay healthy. This cheesecake is an excellent example of pleasing your sugar craving in a guilt-free, quick way. It’s such a tasty recipe, you’ll forget you are eating bananas. Fresh coconut and sweet banana prove to be a perfect combination in this dish that will fully satisfy your sweet tooth.
Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt
Strawberries and bananas make a great pair and this recipe is perfect for when you’re craving something sweet without a ton of calories. It beats most store-bought frozen treats, which are full of high-fructose corn syrup. This is another great way to use ripe bananas for their sweetness. Did we mention it only takes five ingredients and this frozen yogurt can be served in two minutes? Sold and sold.
Banana Oatmeal Fitness Cookies
These are perfect for on-the-go mornings or right before your workouts. They contain bananas and lots of oats, which are both great energizers. Opting to make these fitness bars at home significantly cuts back on your sugar consumption, especially when compared to normal store-bought granola. The numbers on this one tell the rest of the story: check out the nutritional facts at the bottom of the recipe to see how truly amazing these cookies are.
These recipes are irresistible, easy, and so good for you, not to mention, it’s so much fun to experiment with new recipes. Bananas are wonderful on their own. They are great on their own and can be mixed with so many other ingredients to create something even more wonderful. With their natural sugars, ripe bananas are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without hopping off your healthy eating agenda.
The bottom line is that bananas offer so many health benefits and can be used in so many different ways. From improving cardiovascular health, to helping maintain a healthy digestive system, the perks of eating bananas go on and on. Because of how dense in nutrients and low in calories bananas are, they are an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Once you really get into eating healthy, you’ll be amazed at how much more energy you’ll have alongside an overall increase in your general well-being. We hope these recipes encourage you to kick off 2020 on a healthy note. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated; these recipes are proof that adding necessary nutrients to your diet can be simple.