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Bananas are very affordable. You may sometimes find yourself with more bananas than you need for the week. You want to keep them in the freezer but you're not sure if they will still be perfectly ripe by the time you want to eat them or if freezing will make them sweeter or will they taste bad after? We've done the research for you to ease your worries.
Freezing stops their ripening process. So, when you put a perfectly ripe banana in the freezer, you can expect it to stay in this condition for months. And once you thaw them, the amylase enzyme is activated that turns the starches on the bananas into sugars, making them taste even sweeter.
Keep reading to learn how these tropical fruits stay fresh and taste sweeter when they're frozen. We'll also give you tips on how to freeze your bananas and how to quicken their ripening process so that you can always enjoy the taste of these sweet and healthy fruits whenever you want.
What Freezing Does to Bananas
Because of their many uses and nutrients, it's a no-no to let these fruits go to waste. If you find yourself with more bananas than you can consume, it's always a good idea to freeze them to keep them from going bad.
Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of these sweet and nutritious fruits. It is recommended that you freeze ripe to slightly overripe bananas. They will stay in this state in the freezer because the low temperature, controlled humidity, and absence of air stop the fruits' ripening process. This favorable environment keeps them from turning brown, preserves their freshness, and helps maintain their nutrients.
But just when you thought these fruits can't get any better, freezing them makes them even sweeter! Once you thaw frozen bananas, they diffuse starches and the amylase enzyme and this leads to the conversion of these starches to sugar. Defrosting activates the release of all the confined sugars and juices which is why thawed bananas taste even sweeter!
Why do bananas turn brown in the freezer?
If you have experienced seeing a banana that turned brown while it was kept in the freezer, it means that air was able to enter inside its container. The chemicals in the bananas react with the oxygen in the air. This is called oxidation which causes the tropical fruit to turn brown. This is why it is important to make sure that the containers are airtight or the freezer bags are sealed well so that no air can pass through.
How to freeze bananas
These tropical fruits do well in the freezer. You can freeze them whole or in slices and they'll stay fresh for months. But you have to make sure that they are at their optimum level of ripeness if you want to keep them in the freezer. How to tell if your banana is ripe? The color of the skin is yellow and there are some brown spots on it. It is soft when you touch it but still firm.
Now, here are the step-by-step guides to freezing these popular fruits.
Freezing Bananas Whole
This is the easiest way to store these nutritious fruits in the freezer. Many recipes ask for whole bananas anyway so they're ready to use straight from their cold storage.
- Peel your bananas.
- Place them inside freezer bags or airtight containers.
- Put a label on your containers. Indicate the contents and date of storage.
Freezing Bananas in Slices
If you want your bananas in more manageable sizes, you can slice them before putting these fruits in the freezer.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel off the skin of the banana.
- Cut the flesh crosswise. Each slice should be around 1/2" to 3/4" thick.
- Arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Pre-freeze for about 2 hours or until the flesh is solid.
- Put them in freezer bags or airtight containers.
- Label your containers with the contents and date of storage.
If you will use your frozen bananas for your smoothies, there's no need to defrost them. You can just take them out of your freezer and put them straight in your blender. But if you will use your frozen fruits for baking banana bread or muffins, allow them to thaw completely by putting them in the fridge overnight. Learn how to store your cake mixes in the freezer so and add your frozen bananas to them for a delicious and healthy dessert.
Does freezing bananas keep them fresh?
Freezing bananas is a good way to preserve the freshness of this fruit. If you’re able to seal it tightly, no amount of air can get inside. This is important because the oxygen in the air initiates a chemical reaction within the banana which causes it to turn brown. Without air, your frozen bananas will stay fresh and will continue to do so for 2 to 3 months. But they are still safe to eat even after this period.
Is it best to freeze bananas with or without the peel?
You can freeze your ripe bananas with or without the peel and they will still stay fresh in the freezer for months. The key is in ensuring that your bananas are stored in airtight or vacuum-sealed containers.
However, for those who choose to freeze their bananas with the peel on, expect the skin to turn dark in color but it won’t affect the freshness of the flesh. Some also say that the banana peels are difficult to remove when frozen. They also say that unpeeled ones have a shorter shelf life than peeled bananas. In that case, it is best to peel off the skin of these fruits before freezing them.
Can you freeze bananas in a Ziploc bag?
Ziploc bags are freezer-quality plastic bags. They are safe to use for storing your bananas. Just make sure that there's no air inside the bag and seal it tightly. They are also easy to label before you put them inside the freezer.
How do you ripen bananas quickly?
If you’ve just bought your bananas from the grocery, chances are they’re not yet ripe enough for you to use them for your delicious recipes. Producers don’t usually sell perfectly ripe bananas because they go bad really fast. But don’t worry because we can remedy that easily. There are 3 ways to ripen your bananas depending on how much time you have until you want to use them.
The Paper Bag Technique
If you still have a day or two before you have to use these fruits, then you can use the paper bag technique. As the name implies, you will put the bananas inside a paper bag. Just fold the top of the paper bag loosely. If you have some very ripe bananas or an apple on hand, put them inside the paper bag together with the unripe bananas. These fruits release ethylene gas which will speed up the ripening process.
Using the Oven
If you’ve got a few hours left before you need to use this fruit, you can use the oven method. Here’s how you do it.
- Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper to catch the drippings.
- Arrange your unpeeled bananas on the baking sheet.
- Put them inside the oven. Wait until the banana peels turn black. This usually takes an hour.
- Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool down.
- That’s it! You’ve got sweet and soft bananas ready to use for your delicious dishes.
Using the Microwave
If you only have a few minutes to spare until you start cooking your favorite banana dish, you can try the microwave method.
- Using a fork or a knife, poke holes all over your unripe and unpeeled bananas.
- Place them on a paper plate or paper towel.
- Put inside the microwave. Set it on high for 30 seconds.
- Check the texture of the bananas. You can put them back in the microwave until you achieve your desired softness.
Can you eat frozen bananas?
Bananas are actually one of those fruits that taste even better when they’re frozen. So, yes, you can eat frozen bananas. You can eat these yummy delights with a sprinkle of cinnamon or dipped in peanut butter or chocolate sauce. You can also use them to make your favorite banana recipes for bread, smoothies, or ice cream. Best of all, they are able to retain their nutrients so you can enjoy a delicious and healthy treat.
There's no more reason to let another banana go to waste. Freezing bananas will stop the ripening process and ensure their freshness for months. And once you thaw these frozen fruits, you'll be delighted by their sweeter taste. This makes them the perfect ingredient for your smoothies and baked goodies. Check out our post on how you can preserve avocados so that you can store more nutritious fruits in your freezer.