Go bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Bananas are a staple item found on most of our weekly grocery lists. This versatile fruit adds flavor and texture to goodies like smoothies, milkshakes, and baked treats. It's also a delicious and healthy snack when eaten on its own. "Bananas are known to reduce swelling, protect against developing type-2 diabetes, aid in weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with production of white blood cells, all due to the high level of vitamin B6 that bananas contain," says Laura Flores, a San Diego-based nutritionist. "Bananas are high in antioxidants, which can provide protection from free radicals, which we come into contact with every day, from the sunlight to the lotion you put on your skin."
Did you know that instead of just throwing out bananas gone bad, you can store them in the freezer for future use? If you're sick and tired of wasting good money by throwing away your bad bananas, then read on for how to properly freeze them.
How long do bananas generally last?
Bananas can go bad pretty quickly—around two to five days to be exact—when stored properly at room temperature. This is a mighty difference when compared to the fact that they can last two to three months when stored in the freezer.
What can we do with frozen bananas?
1. Use them for smoothies: Meal prep takes a lot of time as it is, so if you want to save time in the kitchen—especially in the mornings when things are a mad dash as it is—then follow this quick timesaver tip. Simply peel the banana, slice it up into small pieces, and put them in a sealed bag in the freezer. When it’s time for your morning smoothie, just toss them in and go!
2. Make frozen banana ice cream: While you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like ice cream, it’s tough to find someone who actually enjoys taking in hundreds of calories from a small bowl of this food. It tastes good, but is there a healthier alternative? Luckily, there is, and it’s called banana ice cream. To make this treat, all you need is one ingredient: frozen ripe bananas! Simply grab your food processor (or a blender if you don't have one) and pulse it to blend it all up. At first, the banana will look crumbly, then gooey, and then will turn into an oatmeal-like texture. Just keep pulsing until it turns into the creamy texture we know and love from regular ice cream. Bon appétit!
3. Freeze to make banana-based desserts: You will want to peel the bananas so it's easier to defrost them. Keep larger pieces in case you have to mash the bananas for a recipe, such as banana bread or muffins.
How to store bananas in the freezer
First, consider what you will be doing with the bananas ahead of time. If it's to add to smoothies or make banana ice cream, then you will want to follow the instructions outlined above. Simply peel and cut into the desired size of chunks. If you're planning on using them for baking, however, you have two options: peel and cut ahead of time or store the banana whole and unpeeled in the freezer. This can be super useful because tossing it in unpeeled means you won't need to seal it in anything, as it has its own storage protector: the peel! If you want a sweeter taste from the bananas, then freeze ones that have already ripened. They cannot ripen any more in the freezer.
Simply follow these tips if you want to preserve the life of your bananas in the freezer. Your breakfast smoothies will taste way better with frozen bananas anyway.
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.