May 4th 2021 ・ 4 min reading
It’s the question that Chiquita banana lovers everywhere have always asked: what’s the best way to store my bananas so they stay fresh for as long as possible? Well, here at Chiquita, we know a few things about bananas! We’re delighted to share with you the top five ways to preserve our high quality, super tasty fruit, as well as some great ideas for frozen bananas. Let’s have a look!
Stores often wrap bananas in plastic bags, but this is particularly bad for our sunny little fruit as plastic traps moisture – so don’t forget to unwrap them as soon as you get them home. It’s also true that bananas in any type of bag are likely to ripen more quickly. In addition, do make sure they aren’t placed close to any heating or next to a cold window because extremes of temperature are also not ideal. If you want to store bananas successfully, keep them somewhere cool and dark.
Bananas are individualists – they keep best when they can be on their own, away from other fruit that might release ethylene gas such as avocados, tomatoes, peaches, and apples. This gas is released naturally by ripe fruit, and bananas are particularly sensitive to it – it triggers ripening even if you’ve chosen quite green fruit. It also works in reverse: if you have fruit you want to ripen, placing a very ripe banana near them can help speed up the process. That may be one of the more well-known unconventional banana uses!
Another way to store your bananas is to hang them up, so that their lovely yellow skins won’t get bruised or scuffed. It also helps to keep them well ventilated, allows air to circulate evenly, and reduces the stresse on the fruit. This is because they’re not resting on each other, so no fruit have extra weight pressing on them and thus the risk of splitting the skin and exposing the delicate flesh to oxygen is reduced.
While plastic bags are not good for your bananas, wrapping the crown in some plastic wrap helps to control the release of ethylene, which is critical to storing bananas well. Because the crown is the point where the bananas were cut from the stem, it’s where most ethylene gas is released and keeping that area under wraps helps to prevent the gas reaching the rest of the fruit.
Of course, it’s important to remember to carefully re-wrap the bunch of bananas after you’ve removed one from the bunch to eat. Some banana lovers also suggest storing bananas individually, with each separate crown end wrapped in plastic. There’s much disagreement about whether bananas ripen more quickly as a bunch or separately, and whether this affects the taste, so we suggest doing an experiment in your own home conditions to see what you prefer. Your kids will love it!
When they have fully ripened, it’s a good idea to store bananas in the fridge to extend their freshness – in a fridge, they will keep nicely for an extra week or two. But be careful – until they do go yellow, putting them in the fridge can prevent them from ripening properly.
Even when they have begun to go brown, it’s possible to store bananas in containers in the fridge for baking for up to eight weeks. And as far as banana bread or muffins are concerned, the browner the banana, the better! Really ripe bananas contain the most sugars and the most intense banana taste, so they’re well worth keeping to this point.
When it comes to banana uses, if you have some prepared banana slices, the best way to prevent them from going brown is to toss them in a little lemon, pineapple, or lime juice, which are all nicely acid and will kill off the enzymes that turn your lovely banana slices to mush. Vinegar would also work, though it might not quite be the taste you want to pair with your banana!
When your bananas are very ripe and you’re thinking about throwing them away, why not freeze them instead? Freezing bananas is the perfect way to preserve them for much longer. You can freeze bananas very easily, just peel them and chop them into inch-long chunks, and bag them as individual bananas.
When you freeze bananas, storing them individually is important because every recipe will call for a different number of bananas and when they’re frozen bananas are fiendishly difficult to separate without defrosting them completely. We have some great ideas for using frozen bananas on our website, including some amazing smoothies and luxurious frozen banana ice cream!
Making sure that no Chiquita banana is wasted is important to us and is one of our key sustainability goals. Our amazing fruit are bursting with goodness in the form of fiber, important vitamins and minerals, and by using these clever techniques, you can keep them perfectly fresh for as long as possible. So, next time you’re at the store, don’t forget to buy a bunch!