Like many other fruits, bananas are aged after they are exposed to a gas called ethylene that helps process sugars in the fruit to soften and color the banana. In a grocery or marketplace, they ripen over time. However, to prevent buying overripe bananas, we often buy some that may still be slightly raw. If you have ever done that and it has backfired because of the bananas not ripening when you want them to ripen quickly, follow these few tips that will help you do that.
How do Bananas Ripen?
In many fruits and vegetables, ethylene is found. Exposure to the gas can trigger mitigation in constant amounts in bananas. They can ripen slowly over a week, depending on how they are stored. A ripe banana is bright and yellow. It’s suitable for a salad. After that, brown speckles begin to appear on the peel of the banana, which you can use for smoothies and oatmeal or on top of the pancakes.
Easy Ways to Ripen Bananas Naturally
There are many natural ways in which you can ripen unripe bananas. Some of them are:
1. Using Paper Bags
Paper bags are fantastic at not letting food get spoiled in the fridge. But they are also excellent for ripening bananas fast!
- Simply insert the number of bananas you want to ripen in a brown paper bag and roll it shut.
- The paper bag creates an incubator effect around the banana, trapping the naturally emitted ethylene gases as it ripens, speeding up the process.
- Keep checking them daily, and when the bananas are firm and bright yellow with no trace of green, they’re ready to eat.
- When brown spots appear, you can use them for baking.
2. Place in Warm Places
Warm places are an excellent trigger to initiate the ripening action.
- Placing the unripe bananas in a warm place will help them ripen faster. Putting them on a windowsill in the sunshine would be ideal.
- You can use other warm sources, such as the top of the refrigerator or near a heater, which is usually heated. This will speed up the plantain ripening; however, keep an eye on the fruits from time to time.
- You can also place the bananas under the cot or on the warm storage shelf in the kitchen. The warm temperature will help ripen bananas quickly.
- It depends on how hard and green your bananas were when you bought them; it can take anywhere from one day to four or five days for them to reach your preferred ripeness.
3. The Oven Method
Ovens are great for making dehydrated bananas and for ripening them in emergencies. To ripen bananas in oven, follow these steps:
- Preheat your oven to 300°F. Place the bananas on the plate towel or plate. Because the warm air needs to circulate freely, place not more than three bananas at a time
- Bake the raw bananas for 15 to 30 minutes, or until they turn black. Every 15 minutes, check to see if they’re soft enough.
- When the banana peels turn black, this indicates that they have softened and ripened. This way, they will be too mushy to eat raw but excellent for baking.
- Before removing them from the oven, see to it that the bananas are cooled down completely.
4. In the Microwave
Microwaves may very well be one of the easiest and quickest methods of ripening your unripe bananas!
- Using a fork or a sharp knife, pierce the skin of the peel on all sides a couple of times.
- Microwave the banana for 30 seconds on high.
- Allow cooling slightly before checking to see if the desired softness is achieved.
- If not, microwave for another 30 seconds. Continue this process until the desired level of ripeness is reached.
How Should You Store Ripened Bananas?
Ripened bananas are much more delicate than freshly ripe bananas and they need to be handled with care so as not to squash them.
- If you’ve hit your limit with bananas for breakfast, or the bananas you bought are past their prime, just peel them and store them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer section for later.
- If you plan to eat ripe bananas within a few days, then keep them at room temperature. One of the best ways to store ripe bananas is to hang the bunch on the banana tree. If you don’t have one, free-standing banana trees can be placed on your countertop or banana hangers that you can mount on the wall. Banana trees and hangers allow air to circulate, which helps to prevent pressing down on the fruit.
- If your bananas are already quite ripe, you can keep them fresh and yellow for longer by separating each banana from the bunch. This will keep each banana fresher for long.
- After they are fully ripe, put the bananas in your refrigerator’s drawer. Cooling considerably slows down but does not stop the maturing process. The skin will still be brown, but for 1 to 2 weeks, the fruit will remain fresh and firm. It is believed that storing ripe bananas in the refrigerator will preserve their taste, even though their peels turn black.
Freezing Overripe Bananas
Bananas are best frozen when they are ripe and the peel is starting to brown. Bananas are at their sweetest at this time of year. If you’re going to use your bananas in smoothies or bread, freezing them whole is a good idea.
- Peel each banana.
- Put them in a zip-lock freezer bag or container.
- Make a note of the date and contents of the container.
If you’re making smoothies, add frozen bananas to the blender. Allow them to thaw completely before adding them to the other ingredients in your recipe if you’re making bread, muffins, or other baked goods.
What to do With Ripe Bananas
If the bananas are ripe and yellow, you can snack on them. You can also use them to make smoothies or just slice them and top them on pancakes. If the bananas are further ripened, and brown spots have started appearing, you can mash them and use them in several recipes. Banana bread is one of the best recipes using overripe and almost blackened bananas, along with delectable banana and coconut fritters. Some other recipe ideas using banana bread include:
- Banana Teff Bread
- Banana Muffins with One Banana and One Bowl
- Muffins with Chocolate and Banana
- Cream Cheese Frosting on a Small Banana Cake
- Frozen Banana Treat with Chocolate
- Banana – Oat Chocolate Chip Pancakes
These simple and quick ways to ripen bananas come in handy if you need to cook something special or you want to snack on it once it turns yellow. So, get some bananas!