If you’re a big banana fan like me you will know that they make a healthy nutritious snack at any time of day and can be used to make loads of delicious dishes. But what’s the best way to store them so your bunch of bananas stay fresh for as long as possible and avoids attracting those nasty little fruit flies?
As a general rule, bananas should be stored out of direct sunlight at a cool (but not cold) temperature to stop them from ripening too quickly. Keep the whole bunch together and hang it on a banana tree or hanger away from other fruit for the best results. Only put them in the fridge once they’ve reached your preferred level of ripeness.
If you can, only buy enough to last a few days at a time and a good tip is to pick up some that are ready to eat straight away plus a few greener ones you can ripen at home over the next few days.
Always give them a quick rinse when you get home to wash off any sticky residue and fruit fly eggs that may already be clinging to them to help keep those pesky pests away.
If you can’t get to the store that often and need to buy a larger amount for the week, read on to find out my best tips on storing your bananas and keeping them at your preferred ripeness for longer.
Should You Keep Bananas Out Of Sunlight?
These potassium-rich natural marvels are of course tropical fruits and absolutely love sunshine and warm temperatures.
Keeping them in a cool, dry, dark place away from other fruit is the top way to slow down the ripening process. It must be somewhere with plenty of ventilation so leaving them in something like a brown paper bag is no good at all.
If you don’t have a suitable cupboard to put them in, just find the darkest corner of your kitchen where they will still get plenty of fresh air. Try to keep your bunch away from windows, sunshine, and other heat sources.
Should You Keep Bananas Separate From Other Fruit?
If you want to lengthen the stage where your bananas stay a nice yellow color, store them away from fruits such as avocados, tomatoes, apples, peaches, and figs as these release high levels of ethylene gas as they ripen, causing bananas to go over prematurely.
Ethylene is a natural gas released by fruits as part of the ripening process and helps them transform into the sweet and juicy treats we all like to eat.
You can use this fact to your own advantage if you have some fruits that are refusing to mature by placing another fruit that is already well on the way with them to help speed things up.
Do Bananas Ripen Slower In The Fridge?
Of course, the most obvious way to stop any food from spoiling is to just pop it in the refrigerator as soon as you get it home, but that’s not always the best thing to do with your bananas.
Cooler (but not cold) temperatures help slow down the ripening process and it’s one of the best ways to stop them spoiling if you need them to last a bit longer, but putting them in a fridge when they’re still green will probably stop them from going ripe at all.
Sometimes the process will not restart even if you bring them out onto the kitchen worktop in full sunshine.
Fridges are best used when the bananas have ripened to just the level you like them and you want to stop them going any further. At that stage, you can safely refrigerate them and they should keep like that for several more days.
Note that the skins will probably turn brown or even black in the cold temperatures due to pigments in the peel but the flesh of the fruit inside will usually remain perfectly fine.
Do Bananas Ripen Faster If Left In A Bunch?
According to my own experience, bananas appear to ripen more slowly if left in their natural state as a bunch. But according to several online sources, there is not really much difference in whichever way you do it.
The theory behind separating them out is that the ethylene produced by the individual fruits is less concentrated and more easily dissipated than if they are kept in a bunch.
However, it appears that unless you store the singular bananas a decent distance away from each other then they react in pretty much the same way as if they were still in a bunch so it seems to have little impact.
There is actually another reason it’s a good idea to keep them together as you can find out below.
Does Hanging Bananas Keep Them Longer?
Keeping your bananas together as a bunch and hanging them on a banana tree helps stop any brown ‘resting bruises’ from forming so that they not only look great but also stay fresh for much longer than if placed on their side in a fruit bowl.
Bruises and damage to the skins allow oxygen to reach the flesh of the fruit turning it brown and mushy very quickly so anything you can do to prevent this is going to help keep them at their best.
Hanging your bunch away from other fruits also means that air can circulate around the bananas and dissipate any ethylene gas that is given off. You can buy a banana “tree” from Amazon.
Just make sure you avoid fruit bowls with a built-in hanger where the bananas sit above the other fruits as this can actually have the opposite effect and make them ripen very quickly instead!
Does Aluminum Foil Prevent Bananas From Ripening?
Wrapping the stem of the banana in aluminum foil or plastic wrap is believed to help cut down on the amount of ethylene being produced which in turn helps stop the fruit from ripening too quickly.
From my research into this, many online resources say the ripening gas in bananas is mostly released at the top of the bunch through the stems. So wrapping them tightly with foil or wrap may well make a difference but probably is not worth the effort.
For me, I think it’s better for the planet to follow my other tips and just pop them in the fridge once they’re ripe enough.
If you do want to try this method make sure to only wrap the stems, not the whole banana as this would cause it to rot quickly in the warm and moist environment.
So that’s it, those are my top hacks on how to store bananas to stop them from ripening too quickly.
Just to recap, the best ways I have found are to only buy enough to last you a few days and store them in a cool, dark but airy place away from direct sunlight. Keep them together as a bunch and hang away from other fruits before putting them in the fridge once they have reached your perfect level of ripeness.
You can also freeze bananas to use in smoothies etc. before they go all mushy, just make sure to remove the skins first.
Even following my tips and tricks, you’re bound to still end up with some bananas that have gone overripe before you get to eat them but don’t throw them out. Use them to make some delicious treats like banana bread, cookies, and muffins instead. Enjoy!