How to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Organic Bananas

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. 

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