How to Store Bananas so They Don't Turn Black, According to an Expert

Make sure you can savor every last bite.

Two past their best bananas lie side by side on a wooden table
Photo: Catherine Falls/Getty Images

As far as travel-friendly healthy snacks go, few outweigh the banana. The fruit, which comes packed with vitamins and minerals, is a great way to fuel adventures, and, as a bonus, has its own to-go packaging, thanks to Mother Nature. There is, however, one downside to the mighty banana, and that's just how fast it can go from perfectly ripe to downright rotten.

But if you want to keep your bananas fresh for longer — whether you're taking them with you on a long car ride or flight, or leaving them behind in your home kitchen during a long weekend getaway — there are ways to do that. According to Molly Siegler, the senior program manager for culinary development at Whole Foods Market, that begins by picking the right bananas in the first place.

"Remember, you can always select one or two bananas from any bunch — choose the ones at the best stage of ripening for you," Siegler shares with Travel + Leisure. "I always recommend choosing a variety of ripeness — a couple quite green for the end of the week, several bright yellow with green ends, and one uniformly creamy yellow for eating that day."

As for storing bananas to keep them fresh for longer, Siegler says, "The most important thing is selection at the store, and when you're home, keep the bananas away from other fruit, especially apples, which also release ethylene gas and can hasten the ripening process."

Consider buying an adorable banana hanger, which not only keeps your bananas away from other fruits that ripen them faster, but can also reduce the odds of bruising.

Bananas aren't the only thing you may want to keep fresh. Food waste is a massive issue in the U.S. As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains, food waste is estimated to be between 30 and 40% of the food supply, which in 2010, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food.

"Again, this is about food storage, but also purchasing thoughtfully when you're shopping," Siegler says about reducing all food waste, including bananas. "Especially with items such as bananas, avocados, and stone fruit, select products at different stages of ripeness so that you have more time to enjoy them."

And if your bananas do start to ripen faster than you'd like, you can also pop them in the fridge. The colder temperatures slow down the chemical process that ripens bananas, which could help you enjoy them for a few extra days. If you really need to extend the life of a banana, put it in the freezer. A frozen banana can be used for up to six months.

Another pro tip? "Don't wash produce until you're ready to eat or cook it, as washing too soon can lead to molding," Siegler adds. "Most items do best with more air circulation, so consider that as you store fruits and vegetables."

And don't toss them just because they're brown, either. The browning is just a sign that the banana has ripened to a point where the starch has converted to sugar, meaning it may be ultra-sweet. That makes it perfect for frozen ice cream, banana bread, or just about any sugary banana treat. Give it a try before you throw it out to save on food waste and a few bucks on your next grocery store visit.

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