In the 1940s, one banana producer wanted to promote bananas to American consumers while also teaching people how to use and store them. It introduced an ad campaign and a jingle that included these lines: “But, bananas like the climate of the very, very tropical equator / so you should never put bananas in the refrigerator.” Bananas are now the most-consumed fruit in the U.S. It’s still important to know how to store them.

Refrigerate Bananas

That jingle wasn’t quit right. Refrigerating bananas has become an accepted practice to slow the ripening process. But don’t remove the skins before placing them in the refrigerator — leave the skins on. The skin will turn dark or black, but the fruit inside will be fine for two to three days.

Ripen Bananas

Bananas are picked green and then shipped. When you buy them, they are usually greenish-yellow or pale yellow. You can speed up the ripening processes by putting bananas in a paper bag with a tomato or an apple. Leave them at room temperature overnight, and they will be riper in the morning.

Freeze Bananas

The best way to preserve bananas is to freeze them. Ripe or very ripe bananas freeze well. Peel off the skins, break the fruit into chunks and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. If you want to use the pieces for smoothies, place partially thawed pieces into a blender or a food processor and whip them until they look like ice cream. Frozen bananas are also handy for making banana muffins or banana bread.

The Nutritious Banana

Available year-round, bananas are packed with nutrition. Bananas contain 110 calories and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of potassium, fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and B-6. Once you know how to store them properly, you can take advantage of sales and always have tasty, healthy fruit on hand.