How can I keep bananas fresh?
January 9, 2014 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Looking for ideas and suggestions that would let me keep bananas for up to 6-7 days.

I have searched the internet and previous AskMes with no luck. We only go grocery shopping once a week. I'd like to be able to eat one banana a day, but they tend to go bad after 3-4 days.

Banana Ripeness Chart

Sometimes there are 4's, but usually the grocery store only has 5's. In my dreamworld, I like to eat 6's but am happy to have a 5, 6, or a 7. I am only making it halfway into the week before there are flies or the consistency is way too mushy. So far I have tried hanging them up and then I tried separating them. Otherwise, I leave them uncovered in a bowl in the kitchen. I'm willing to try anything within reason. Is there a way to keep my supply of bananas going beyond the middle of the week?
posted by 99percentfake to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Refrigerate them. They will LOOK like complete bullshit, like somebody took a blowtorch to them, but on the inside, they will slowly and gently ripen.
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:42 PM on January 9, 2014 [19 favorites]

Don't buy them all in a bunch - buy singles or pairs at varying degrees of ripeness, saving the ones that are green at purchase time for later in the week.
posted by Miko at 6:49 PM on January 9, 2014 [8 favorites]

Wrap plastic wrap around the stems, hold it tight with a rubber band. It works!
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:06 PM on January 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

If banana-in-smoothie* is something you'll consider for that last couple of days a week, they're freezable, too - in peel or not. They'll look horrid, but the taste is all there, and they're rot and fly-free.

*Or banana-egg pancakes. I finally tried these, and they are SO good. As good or better than regular pancakes-with-bananas-in-them.
posted by stormyteal at 7:12 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ditto on the refrigerating. They will turn this odd amber color but the interior will ripen slowly and the flavor will remain fresh and the flesh firm...
posted by jim in austin at 7:35 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know if this stuff would be safe for home use but Wikipedia says
Ethylene absorbents extend storage time of bananas even at high temperatures. This effect can be exploited by packing bananas in polyethylene with potassium permanganate as an ethylene absorbent, that doubles a bananas lifespan up to 3–4 weeks without the need for refrigeration. Ethylene released by the bananas encourage it to ripen; by removing it via oxidation, the bananas' ripening is delayed.
posted by XMLicious at 7:56 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

The grocery store may *display* only 5+s, but I can almost guarantee that they have 2s and 3s in the back. Ask your produce manager!
posted by charmcityblues at 8:37 PM on January 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Confirming that the peel of a banana will look rubbish approximately six minutes after you buy it, but if the thing is refrigerated it will be good for anywhere up to a week. If you pre-peel them you can freeze them, too, and they will be just fab blended up with a little bit of almond milk.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:46 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have noticed that the organic bananas stay edible longer. The skins brown at about the same rate as nonorganic ones, but the inside doesn't go gross as quickly.
posted by Orb at 9:07 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Banana Bag. Honest to Jeebus, bloke at work brings in bananas he's kept in this thing for weeks. The skin eventually (like, three weeks) darkens to black, but doesn't change texture; the banana inside is still perfect.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:50 PM on January 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Came to say what charmcityblues said: ask someone in the produce department if they have any green bananas in the back.

I do this all the time for produce and I've never been turned down.
posted by phunniemee at 4:28 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's what works best for me:

I put my produce in a cold bath with citric acid. The bath kills any insects and strips the wax and residue on the skins. Dry them with a towel. Critic acid is available in most grocery stores in powder form; it's very concentrated, so it doesn't take much to work.

The next step is to place the bananas in an open bowl if they are too green and allow them to ripen at room temperature.

When they get to the stage I like, which is pretty green, I wrap them in a cloth towel and tuck them in the refrigerator. The towel layer keeps them at just the right state of green. Without the towel, they seem to get too cold and develop a waxy taste I don't like. They will keep a long time with the towel wrap.
posted by effluvia at 6:40 AM on January 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you notice the bananas at the store have the stems wrapped in plastic wrap. I don't remember where I read this tip but if you keep the stem wrapped in plastic wrap it will stay fresh longer or at least delay the ripening process.
posted by eatcake at 7:56 AM on January 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've found refrigerating when they are around the right ripeness works well for me, as does buying them green.

For the fruit flies, just washing the bananas right after you buy them works wonders. I only get fruit flies now in the summer, when there are berries out on the counter.
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:12 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for these answers. Plenty of good suggestions to try out.
posted by 99percentfake at 5:59 AM on January 11, 2014

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