Bananas are picked and packaged under strict environmental conditions to ensure they reach their destination in prime condition. Temperature control in the packaging plant maintains optimum freshness and a semi-impermeable membrane on banana containers keeps the fruit stable in transit. Whether you choose to buy green bananas to ripen at home or ready-to-eat ripened fruit, a few simple precautions can ensure your bananas stay fresh and tasty for as long as possible once they leave the grocery store.
The best way to store bananas is to suspend the bunch from a hook or hanger, according to fruit manufacturer and distributor, Dole. If a banana is allowed to lie on its skin, bruising can develop and show as brown patches or large mottled areas. To prevent bruising from storage in a traditional fruit bowl, use a fruit bowl with an integral banana hook or a standalone hanger to keep your bananas at their best.
Keep Them Cool
Bananas are packaged at 58 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure they do not ripen before arriving at their destination, as reported in the Boston Globe. Once in the shops and exposed to air and warmth, the bananas continue to ripen at their natural rate. Keep your bananas cool and away from heat sources and sunny windows to maintain freshness and prolong shelf life.
Store in a Refrigerator
Store ripe, yellow bananas in a refrigerator to keep them fresh for as long as possible. Bananas stored in the fridge turn darker than those left at room temperature for the same amount of time. After a couple of days the skin may even turn dark brown as if the banana has gone bad; however, this discoloration only affects the skin and the fruit inside is unaffected. Do not store green, unripe bananas in a refrigerator. Chiquita says this interrupts the ripening process and the bananas will never turn yellow, even when removed from the refrigerator.
Choose Bananas at Different Stages of Ripeness
Bananas that are not quite ripe stay fresher for longer than those that are ready to eat at the time of purchase. If you intend to eat bananas over the course of a week or more, buy a mixture of yellow and green bananas so they will be ready at different times. Dole says green-tipped bananas take around two to three days to become ripe at room temperature. Chiquita recommends keeping bananas fresh by removing the fruits from their store packaging before ripening.
References and Resources"Boston Globe"; Boston Firm Helps Chiquita Find a Way to Keep Delicate Fruit Ripe and Ready; Jenn Abelson; 2007
Dole: How to Store Bananas
Chiquita: Banana Ripening and Storage