Want to learn how to keep bananas fresh for longer? Get annoyed when they turn brown and soft after only a few days? Well I did too! In this post, not only will you learn how you can keep your bananas fresh for longer, but I’ll share with you some super interesting and useful facts, tips and hacks on the science behind bananas and what they can do for you!
Why do bananas ripen so quickly?
To understand how to keep bananas fresh for longer, we need to know how they ripen. Banana stems produce a gas called ethylene. Even once they’ve been picked, bananas continue to produce ethylene gas from the stems, and that is what ripens the rest of the fruit. While it’s sat on the shelves at supermarkets or in your fruit bowl – bananas are continuously producing it. This is what turns them from the firm green bananas you buy, to the soft yellow/brown ones that you eat.
Health benefits of bananas
It’s no secret that bananas are amazing for your health. Packed full of vitamins, potassium, calcium and iron, (which are are all pretty darn great for you!) they’re also high in fibre and carbohydrates. This makes them the perfect healthy snack that will keep your insides happy and you going for longer! They’ve also been known to lower blood pressure, help with depression and reduce stress. Not bad for a little old banana eh?
What can bananas do for you?
Besides the health benefits we’re all fully aware of, did you know that bananas can also do these things..?
- Have some hard pears or green tomatoes? Sit them with a banana for a few days and watch them ripen.
- Peel a banana from the bottom end. It’s easier, you’ll get less stringy bits and it’s how nature intended it! (That’s how the monkeys do it.)
- Insect bite? Rub the inside of a banana peel over it to stop it from itching, swelling and irritating.
- Slice and freeze a banana for at least 24 hours then blitz in a blender for easy, healthy banana ‘ice cream’.
- Ran out of shoe polish? Rub them with the inside of a banana peel then wipe with a dry cloth. Magic!
- Bury banana peels near your plants to add nutrients to the soil. Free fertiliser!
If you love kitchen hacks – you’ll love my post on how to cut an onion without crying too!
How to keep bananas fresh for longer
(For a printable ‘how to sheet’ see the card at the end of the post)
The do’s and don’ts
First we should take a look at some important do’s and don’ts to make sure we get this right…
What not to do:
- Don’t put them in the fridge! They’re not used to cold climates (as they grow in hot countries) so chilling them stops the production of ethylene gas. Meaning, they won’t ripen and worse – the skin will go black. Not very appetising!
- Don’t store bananas with your other fruits as they’ll ripen them more quickly. (Unless you have under ripe fruit then – go ahead!)
What you should do:
- Store in a cool place. If it’s too warm – they’ll ripen too quickly. Too cold (like in the fridge) and they may not ripen at all.
- Store them on their own, not with other fruits or vegetables.
How to keep bananas fresh for longer: the experiment
To keep bananas fresh for longer, wrap the stems in cling film to stop the ethylene gas from getting to the rest of the fruit and ripening it too quickly. To make them last the longest – split the bunch into single bananas and wrap each stem individually.
I set out to prove this theory by taking a bunch of 4 bananas and splitting it into two. One pair was stored as is and the other was stored with the stem wrapped in cling film. I photographed them every day to see the progress.
Not much to see! They both obviously look the same as they’d only just been split.
Both have turned a little more yellow but no noticeable differences yet.
Not really too much difference to physically see yet – but the unwrapped one is starting to feel a little softer than the wrapped one at this point.
Still not that much to visibly see yet but, as above, the unwrapped one is softer than the wrapped, which feels much firmer. The skin on the unwrapped one is also starting to lose it’s shine and becoming quite dull.
Now we can start to see a difference. There are brown lines starting to emerge on the unwrapped bananas. The difference in firmness and dullness between them is also becoming more and more apparent.
Now, not only are the unwrapped bananas very soft and dull – they’re visibly looking a bit worse for wear. Meanwhile, the wrapped bananas are still feeling firm and like they have plenty of life left in them!
More of the same. The wrapped bananas still seem quite happy and aren’t showing any real signs of ripening, while the unwrapped are just getting worse and worse.
The wrapped bananas are just starting to feel a little softer and lose their shine (you can see, the skin is starting to show little brown bits) and the wrapped bananas continue to deteriorate.
Look at those poor, unwrapped bananas! So sad… The wrapped bananas however, are still holding strong. They’re at about the same stage the wrapped bananas were at on day 4/5.
10 whole days in and I’d totally still eat those wrapped bananas, wouldn’t you?! The unwrapped however, I’d probably be looking at either turning them into banana bread or tossing into the bin. Not good!
Wrap your bananas to cut down on food waste!
The conclusion of this experiment is, if you wrap the stems of your bananas, they will last much longer and you’re far less likely to throw them away. This is not only better for your bank balance but it’s better for our planet too! Waste not want not as they say 🙂
PS. No bananas were harmed in the making of this post. (We ate them ALL!)
We know bananas are amazing. So here’s some amazing things you can make with them!
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- Banana Nut Scones
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
- Baked Banana
- Chocolate Banana Muffins
- Easy Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
Have you got a banana fact? I want to know!
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- Bunch of bananas
- Cling Film *
- Separate your bunch of bananas into single bananas.
- Tightly wrap each stem in cling film *
- Store in a cool place. (Not the fridge!)
- Enjoy your bananas for up to twice as long!
* Saran wrap in the US
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