Craving banana bread, but you only have green fruits in the bowl? I bet you’re wondering how to ripen bananas.
And luckily, I have five foolproof methods!
Bananas are a kitchen staple that usually go too brown too fast.
But sometimes, they’re green, hard, and not ripe enough for anything.
And when you’re in the mood for a smoothie, muffin, or batch of cookies, that can be quite a letdown.
But the good news is, it’s easier than you think to ripen a banana or two. In fact, you can get it done in just a few minutes if you need to!
Ready to find out how to ripen bananas? Let’s get to it!
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.
Of course, this method will take some time. So if you need those ripe bananas now, check out the following methods.
5 Ways to Ripen Bananas
1. Ripen Bananas in A Brown Paper Bag
Higher ethylene concentrations allow bananas to ripen more quickly. So, placing them in an enclosed space allows that ethylene to circulate more easily.
And while plastic would work in theory, that would also create moisture, which you don’t want.
Instead, place your banana bunch inside a brown paper bag, which is breathable, and fold over the top so the gases cannot escape.
While it doesn’t work that fast, it speeds up the process. In a brown paper bag, it takes 1-2 days for bananas to ripen.
Want to speed up the brown paper bag hack even more? Place a ripe apple in the bag to increase the ethylene levels even more.
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 that oven.
Since heat is the best way to speed up ethylene production in fruit, the oven is a great way to go from crunchy green bananas to sweet mushy bananas in a matter of minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (150°C), and place single bananas on a foiled baking sheet to 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. Then, nuke them in 30 second-increments, and listen for a sizzle.
The microwave method is excellent if you hate overly sweet bananas but still want something soft and mushy.
So it’s a great way to enjoy bananas without all the added sugar that develops as they ripen.
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 the oven method, you’ll arrange unpeeled bananas in a single layer and cook them at 300 degrees 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, picking the perfect sunbathing location is key to speeding up the process.
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
Once your bananas reach that perfect shade of yellow, you can freeze them to keep them perfectly ripe for a few more days.
I like to slice my bananas and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to freeze completely. Then I transfer them to an air-tight freezer bag.
Giving them a quick freeze prevents the slices from sticking together in the freezer.
This method is ideal for anyone using bananas in smoothies.
Frozen bananas will not continue to ripen in the freezer and last between 6-8 months.
Another great way to slow the ripening process is storing them in the refrigerator. While they will still ripen in the fridge, the process is much slower.
If your family doesn’t eat bananas very quickly, you can store them in the fridge to slow the process down.
Banana Recipes You’ll Love
Banana Nut Muffins
Ina Garten’s Banana Bread
Banana Pudding Cookies
Banana Bread Pudding
Patti Labelle Banana Pudding
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