Bananas are one of the most difficult fruits to preserve: they get brown really fast, they soften and get mushed-up spots easily and they even seem to do as poorly at room temperature as they do in the fridge. Whether you are trying to keep bananas fresh for a longer period of time or you just want to make sure they are preserved for later use, there are several things you can do.
Break up the bunch. Bananas will stay fresh longer if separated, as this will slow down the amount of ethylene gas produced during the natural ripening process. If you store bananas in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator, make sure the vents are open so there’s a chance for the gas to escape.
Keep bananas in the original plastic bag you bought them in, especially if you plan on storing them in the fridge. This will protect them for air exposure, which can cause them to ripen too fast.
Buy unripe bananas if you don’t plan on consuming them within a couple of days. Always store unripe bananas at room temperature, as the fridge will stop the ripening process and can cause the fruit to taste green, even if the skin is browning.
Avoid bananas with brown skin. This indicates bananas that are either too ripe or that have been stored in a fridge for a long time before shipping.
Separate fruits and vegetables when storing them. The gases emitted during ripening are quite different and will either spoil the fruit or accelerate the ripening process too much.
Buy smaller bunches in the summer, as bananas tend to ripen faster during the summer season.
Bananas can be frozen, either whole or sliced, to be used later. To prevent browning at thawing time, brush them with lemon or lime juice. Once defrosted, bananas may be too mushy to eat normally, so they are better used in recipes, smoothies and pies.