This shit is bananas, or vice versa?
April 19, 2020 6:13 AM   Subscribe

I had some overripe bananas which I peeled and stuck in the freezer to make banana bread later. And now it's later and I'm ready to make the bread. I thawed the bag of bananas in the fridge two days ago, and they don't look so good.

The bananas were somewhat squished when I put them in the ziploc bag to freeze, but not mashed. They are now thawed out in the fridge. The banana flesh is light brownish, but more alarmingly, they are swimming in a brown liquid that resembles tea. I did not include any liquid when I stuck them in the freezer so this "juice" apparently came from the bananas.

Are these bananas ok for making banana bread, or are they done for? Normally I would just throw them away out of an abundance of caution, but I don't have any other bananas and I'm not planning on going to the store for a while. And my husband was kind of looking forward to the bread.

If I can use them, should I add in the juice or discard it?
posted by Serene Empress Dork to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Totally normal. Add it all and mix well.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:15 AM on April 19, 2020 [25 favorites]

They're fine, this is normal. They get all weird looking when they thaw. You can just freeze them in the peel next time if you want. Cook it all up, juice and everything.
posted by Cuke at 6:16 AM on April 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Normal, I have 3 similar bags in my freezer. Dump it all right in and happy baking!
posted by Otter_Handler at 6:17 AM on April 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Awesome. Thanks everyone! :)
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:18 AM on April 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I like to drain some of the juice to get a more intense banana flavor, but it's all fine.
posted by Sybil Stockwell Oop at 6:20 AM on April 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

P.S., if you haven’t already chosen a recipe, the newest Smitten Kitchen banana bread is super-delicious, with or without add-ins (nuts, chocolate chips). But do go by volume, not weight for the bananas — I think there’s a discrepancy.
posted by daisyace at 6:26 AM on April 19, 2020 [8 favorites]

It's totally fine. Don't throw that juice away: it's sweet and banana-ey. But if the liquid will throw off your recipe, you can reduce it in a little pan on the stove while you're getting everything else ready.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:58 AM on April 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

This may be the best banana bread ever...
posted by catywampus at 7:10 AM on April 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: This is the recipe I am planning to use. Never tried it before but it looks pretty straightforward and I'm really stoked about the streusel topping!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:22 AM on April 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I will keep the other recipes in mind for another time, though. They both sound really good!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:23 AM on April 19, 2020

I used a gross, syrupy banana last night for the Serious Eats banana oatmeal bread! It was a little dense for my taste but it made a good, uh, second dinner and breakfast anyway. So far I remain unpoisoned! And what more can we really ask for?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:22 AM on April 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

In the PBS series "The Mind of a Chef" with David Chang, there was a segment in the "rotten" episode where Christina Tosi (of Momofuku Milk Bar) held up a black and leaking banana as her preferred state of a banana for recipes.
posted by fedward at 8:47 AM on April 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

oh yeah, I let my bananas get to the point where my husband is like "are we throwing these out?" and then I freeze them with peels on, and thaw them by throwing the entire banana into water until it thaws a bit, then just snipping off the ends and letting the banana sludge slide right out into a bowl!

It is not a process I would document for instagram :P but it makes great banana bread!
posted by euphoria066 at 9:17 AM on April 19, 2020 [9 favorites]

It's normal! I do this all the time and no one's died yet. (I'm obsessed with banana bread and almost always have bananas turning black on my counter.)
posted by Aquifer at 10:36 AM on April 19, 2020

What has happened to your bananas on a cellular level, if you're curious, is that frozen water (ice) takes up more space than liquid water. When the banana freezes, the water inside the cells expands and has nowhere to go, so it pushes through and ruptures the cell membrane (soft) and the cell wall (made of dietary fiber). The banana goes from essentially a closed-cell foam to an open-cell sponge. While the water is frozen, not much changes, but when you thaw it, much of the water that was held in individual cells leaks out because there's nothing holding it in. Totally normal, and you should use the liquid with the rest of the banana otherwise it will be too dry!
posted by zingiberene at 2:00 PM on April 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: The banana bread turned out delicious. I did use the liquid along with the banana mash, and the batter was the perfect consistency. As zingiberene said, it would have been too dry without it.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:20 PM on April 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

I have some bananas still in their skin in the fridge, not the freezer. Been there about a month. Okay to use?
posted by divinitys.mortal.flesh at 11:43 AM on April 24, 2020

I tend to err on the side of using old stuff, but a month in the fridge? I wouldn't.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:20 PM on April 25, 2020

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