Craving banana bread, but you only have green fruit in the bowl? I bet you’re wondering how to ripen bananas.
And luckily, I have five foolproof methods!
When you’re in the mood for a smoothie, muffin, or batch of cookies, green bananas can be quite a letdown.
But the good news is, you can quickly ripen bananas simply by leaving them in a warm spot in the kitchen.
Of course, there are other (faster!) methods.
So let’s dive into it and find out how to ripen bananas.
The Best Way to Ripen Bananas Naturally
Did you know that riper bananas have a higher sugar content? That’s why bakers always say to use brown-black bananas for baking!
As bananas ripen, they release a gas called ethylene, which processes the fruit’s natural sugars.
So, the longer the fruit produces ethylene, the riper (and sweeter) it becomes.
And if you want your bananas to ripen faster, you must turn up the heat.
The best way to ripen bananas naturally is to leave them in a warm place, like in front of a sunny window.
Steer clear of the fridge, and be sure to keep the bunch together. Tethered bananas speed up the production of ethylene.
5 Ways to Ripen Bananas
The method above will take some time. So if you need those ripe bananas now, check out the following ripening hacks.
1. Ripen Bananas in A Brown Paper Bag
Higher ethylene concentrations allow bananas to ripen more quickly.
So trapping the fruit in a bag with ethylene is a great way to encourage ripening.
And while plastic would work in theory, that would also create moisture, which you don’t want.
- Place bananas in a brown paper bag.
- Leave to ripen, and check daily.
- The bananas should be ripe within 1-2 days.
Paper bags are breathable, but if you fold over the top, the gases cannot escape.
While it doesn’t work that fast, it speeds up the process.
And if you want to speed up the hack even more, add a ripe apple to the bag. It’ll release even more gasses.
2. Ripen Bananas in The Oven
If you need ripe, mushy bananas right this minute (because you need some banana bread asap), it’s time to fire up the oven.
Since heat is the best way to speed up ethylene production in fruit, the oven is a great way to ripen fruit in a matter of minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (150°C).
- Place single bananas on a foiled baking sheet.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes.
When you take the bananas out of the oven, the skins will be brown-black, which is the perfect ripeness for baking!
Be sure to let the bananas cool to room temperature before scooping them out of their peels. The inside will be hot and mushy!
Alternatively, use oven gloves to carefully scoop the hot flesh into a bowl and leave it to cool.
3. Ripen Bananas in The Microwave
Microwaving bananas helps make them nice and soft, but it doesn’t make them any sweeter.
If you prefer bananas that aren’t overly sweet but hate the crunchy texture of barely-ripe bananas, the microwave is a great way to soften them.
- Remove the peel, and place the fruit in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Nuke them in 30 second-increments, and listen for a sizzle.
Let them cool before adding them to your cereal or smoothie because they will be hot.
4. Ripen Bananas in The Airfryer
The Air Fryer- is there anything it can’t do?
This countertop appliance works like a conventional oven, but it heats up much faster and uses less energy.
Just like the oven method:
- Arrange unpeeled bananas in a single layer.
- Cook them at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for around 8-10 minutes.
Make sure to place a piece of parchment paper in the basket to avoid a mess. As the bananas heat up, they may burst or leak juices as they ripen.
Let them cool to room temperature, and use a spoon to scoop out the mushy insides.
5. Ripen Bananas in A Warm Spot
If you have the time to let your bananas ripen naturally, simply place the banana bunch in a sunny spot.
Opt for a sunny window that keeps your bananas nice and warm throughout the day, releasing ethylene quickly.
Also, it would be best if you kept your bananas in a bunch because they ripen quicker when bundled together.
This method isn’t fast but speeds up the process quicker than placing them in a cooler location.
On the flip side, if your bananas are ripening too quickly, place them in a cool place to slow down the ripening.
Storing Ripe Bananas
Depending on how ripe your bananas are and what you intend to use them for, you have a few options for storage.
If you plan to bake with or make smoothies with bananas, your best bet is to freeze them.
Do this when they’re perfectly yellow, and they’ll be ready to eat whenever the craving strikes.
Here’s my method:
- Peel and slice ripe bananas.
- Layer them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Freeze until solid.
- Transfer to a freezer bag.
Frozen bananas will last between 6 and 8 months.
Another great way to slow the ripening process is storing bananas in the refrigerator.
While they will still ripen in the fridge, the process is much slower.
So if your family doesn’t eat bananas daily, simply pop them in the fridge.
Banana Recipes You’ll Love
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