Banana

Is This the Best Way to Store Bananas?

July  9, 2020

Bananas are one type of produce we rarely have to think much about regarding proper storage. We just plop them down on the counter. Once they threaten to turn to mush, we either freeze them or make banana bread.

But, because we've been on a bit of a produce-storage bender around here lately, we wondered if there was a way to keep bananas fresh longer.

Bananas

Shop the Story

We've heard that wrapping the top of a bunch of bananas in foil, plastic wrap, or bees wrap can prevent the ethylene gas the fruit naturally gives off from ripening the fruit too quickly. And, alternatively, that you need to break apart the bunch before wrapping each stem individually in foil, plastic wrap, or bees wrap to truly slow the ripening process. We decided to try both ways, and both with plastic wrap (as it creates the tightest seal for the purposes of this experiment). 

In each photo below, the bananas on the left have no plastic wrap on them; the bananas in the middle have plastic wrap around the entire top of the bunch; and the bananas on the right were first separated and then the tops were individually wrapped in plastic.

And then we waited. 

Bananas Bananas
  

Four days later, the bananas without any plastic wrap definitely ripened faster than the two plastic-wrapped bunches, with the individually wrapped bananas ripening slightly slower than the bunch that was wrapped as a whole.

It's clear the plastic-wrapping methods work, but are they worth it? Probably not. Once bananas are ripe, just put them in the fridge: Your bananas will stay at the perfect level of ripeness, and you won't waste plastic wrap (or foil, or bees wrap) in the process.

Now for a few things to make with all those ripe bananas...

Banana Bread Scones From Samantha Seneviratne

Like your favorite sweet-craggy-tender banana bread, but in a fraction of the time. Try it for breakfast with a generous slather of butter and jam.

Andrew Chau & Bin Chen's Roasted Banana Milk

Roasty-toasty bananas, brown sugar, and creamy milk come together for an ultra-refreshing drink that's halfway between a breakfast food and a dessert. It's great with boba, grass jelly, or (our favorite, maybe not for breakfast-time) a splash of rum. 

Banana Butterscotch Pudding

For a low-maintenance, high-reward summer treat, look no further than this banana butterscotch pudding. With cornstarch-thickened pudding (aka the simplest kind out there!), store-bought Nilla wafers (there's really no homemade comparison that comes close, so save yourself the trouble), and sweetened whipped cream (this looks fancy but comes together in a cinch), it's a summer treat that won't tire you out before you can enjoy it. 

Banana Chocolate Chip Blondies

Last, if you're craving something a little chocolatey (we totally get it), look no further than these easy-peasy banana blondies. They're made in one bowl and can be frozen and thawed for snacking down the line—you can thank yourself later. 

Do you have any secret produce storage tips we should know about it? Tell us in the comments!

First photo by Bobbi Lin, all subsequent photos by the author

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Bonniesue
    Bonniesue
  • nancy
    nancy
  • Patrick McGrath
    Patrick McGrath
  • James Arevalo
    James Arevalo
  • Paul Glotzer
    Paul Glotzer
I like esoteric facts about vegetables and think ambling through a farmers market is a great way to start the day. My first cookbook, available now, is called Cooking with Scraps.

9 Comments

Bonniesue July 20, 2020
Having little to do these days, I just finished my own extensive banana ripening tests, and posted my results on FB. I had concluded that my best bet was to buy both almost perfectly ripe and less than ripe ones, and put them on a counter separated and out of the sun. Tomorrow will be the end of week 2, and the ones that were originally underripe are almost mushy, but can still be sliced for my breakfast yogurt.
 
nancy July 17, 2020
Plastic or no plastic, the best way to store bananas to ripen them is to hang them up rather than having them in a bowl or on the counter. I've never tried refrigerating them after they've ripened--that usually isn't an issue since they do get eaten, but will try someday.
 
Patrick M. October 25, 2018
In a Family Mart convenience store today & they were pushing the banana in plastic to sell...I tried to point out they already have a natural covering but the just looked at me confused like little children who have no clue....I tried to explain they already have a natural covering...it's called peel!....They just looked at me as though I was retarded...What's next?.....Plastic covered water...Oh shit!...Really?
 
James A. October 28, 2016
Good post. I agree with the plastic wrap at the end of it being a waste though.

James
http://www.keystonecold.com
 
Patrick M. October 25, 2018
You're a want your cake & eat it kinda guy James.
 
Paul G. November 28, 2015
Notwithstanding the groan inducing first sent enc of this article, I am sharing an somewhat recent accidental discovery of mine that leads you to banana nirvana (my youngest kid who hates bananas with a passion probably believes there's no such thing).

But winter, summer, spring and fall, I get results like the current bunch I have in the kitchen. I bought them as ripe as was available at a long island stop and shop a week ago Thursday. That is, mostly brilliant yellow with some green shadings on the skin. I had one with breakfast this morning and the skin was yellow and a few non-ominous brown spots. The fruit inside was well North of just fine and just shy of perfect. This will continue for the remaining 2-3 bananas probably to Tuesday-Wednesday.

How is this achieved?

1) though the technique works exceptionally well for conventional bananas, since there is very little wastage now and I have the bottom of my freezer back, I splurge for organic bananas;

2. Whatever wrappings they come in, I leave as intact as possible (plastic bag, plastic collar around the tops, band of branded tape around the bunch, etc.); and

3) I put the intact bunch .(and as time passes, what's left) in a plasti c storage container that is completely or nearly so airtight. Based solely in intuition, i keep the contsiner out of direct sunlight and heat. I don't know with moral certainty that this helps, but as a nin,-betting man, I'd bet serious coin it does

SIMPLE!!
 
Danielle November 12, 2015
 
[email protected] November 12, 2015
Did you notice that bio banana's top are always wrapped with plastic?
 
Danielle November 11, 2015
After I plastic wrapped some bananas, I discovered that when the banana skin spotted, I found the bananas were still better on the inside than if I hadn't wrapped them.