Tash said: “Bananas are a household staple in most UK homes, which is unsurprising considering they place fourth on the list of the country’s favourite fruits.
“They have many benefits including providing essential vitamins such as B6 and potassium, and provide the body with sustained energy meaning that they are great for people taking part in sporting activities.
“However, bananas can be tricky to store properly and often the timeframe between them being under-ripe to -over-ripe is short lived, so, how should you store them to keep them fresher for longer?”
The expert explained: “A potentially obvious but often overlooked top tip for keeping bananas fresh is to buy them when they’re green and allow them to ripen at home.
“If you’re looking for the brightest yellow bananas in store, this means they’re already ripe and will have a shorter shelf life than the yet-to-ripen green ones.
“Another top tip is to keep bananas away from other fruit – this will benefit both the banana and the other fruit, as while ripening, bananas release ethylene gas that causes other fruits to ripen and spoil quicker.
“That’s why although a ‘fruit bowl’ is a nice idea and looks great on the kitchen counter, it’s not a practical way to store fruit to ensure longevity.
“Make sure you take bananas out of the plastic bags they are packaged in, this is because the plastic will hold in moisture the bananas release through the ethylene gas as they ripen, causing them to ripen even faster.”
She continued: “Store your bananas on a countertop, or somewhere at room temperature and away from any moisture, sunlight and overly warm temperatures whilst ripening.
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“Anywhere too warm will speed up the ripening process, so avoid keeping them near ovens/ warm appliances.
“Separating individual bananas from the bunch can also help them remain at their prime ripeness for longer as it prevents the fruit becoming impacted by the released ethylene gas from the other bananas.
“The ethylene gas is released from the stem of the banana, so to slow the impact of the gas and avoid them over-ripening too quickly, you can also wrap the stems in a plastic wrap or cling film.
“This reduces the amount of gas that will be able to travel down the fruit and therefore allows them to stay fresher for longer.”
Tash added: “If you’d rather keep the bunch together, you could purchase a ‘banana tree hanger’ which can help slow down ripening and encourage air circulation, it also helps to avoid any resting bruises to the skin of the fruit, which often make the impacted inside area more of an undesirable mushy texture.”
Can you place bananas in the fridge? Tasha said: “You should never refrigerate bananas whilst they’re ripening as the cold temperature can be detrimental to the ripening process.
“However, once the bananas have ripened at room temperature, placing them in the fridge can make them last longer!
“Once they are yellow and slightly spotted, this means that they are ripe and ready to eat – place them in the fridge at this stage and after a few days, whilst the peel may indicate it’s overripe by becoming a black/ brown colour, the fruit inside should still be good to eat for a week or more.
“If you’ve separated the bananas and wrapped the stems in cling film/plastic, these will keep for even longer in the fridge.
“Once ripe and yellow, the inside fruit of these bananas could last up to 16 days – again, don’t be put off by the brown or over-ripe banana skin, as the fruit inside should remain fresh.”
If you buy completely green bananas, it takes around three to four days for them to go yellow, before you use the cling film/plastic wrap technique, and put them in the fridge.
So a banana can last up to 20 days.
What about under-ripe or overripe bananas – can they be eaten?
The expert explained: “Never throw away bananas that are a little too ripe to be eaten directly – these are perfect for making banana cake or banana bread.
“The more ripe the banana, the softer the texture, meaning that they blend evenly with a cake mixture without creating too many lumps or disturbing the consistency.
“If you want to eat an overripe banana as a snack, it is safe to do so provided there is no mould present.
“You can also tell if a banana has become rancid and is no longer safe to eat by its smell.
“Similarly with under-ripe or green bananas, whilst some people do experience digestive issues, they are in fact largely safe to eat and again provide a lot of great health benefits to most people.
“This is due to the fact that unripe bananas are mostly made up of resistant starch, which is not digested in the small intestine.
“As they ripen, bananas lose their starch as it is converted into simple sugars.
“Under-ripe bananas are firmer and haven’t yet developed the prime flavours, so it all depends on your preferences,” she said.
As for whether you can freeze bananas, Tash revealed: “You can freeze bananas and use them within smoothies or for baking sweet treats, however it wouldn’t be recommended to eat a defrosted frozen banana as a snack.
“You can chop them up and place them in a zip-lock bag and they will keep in the freezer for up to six months.”
Published at Fri, 05 Aug 2022 03:00:00 +0000