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Bananas are delicious and wholly unique fruits full of nutrients and flavor. It’s hard to resist buying the biggest bunch you can see when you find them in the shop, then spend the rest of your daydreaming of all the delectable banana-based goodies you’re going to cook up.
The only issue is that they’re rarely ripe from the store, so you wait, you carry on waiting, and you wait some more, but all of a sudden, they take on that brown hue and turn to mush in their skins.
“That’s fine”, we say, “I’ll make banana bread”, but do we ever actually get round to it in time? No. We’re far too busy. But what if you could freeze bananas until you did have the time?
Can You Freeze Bananas?
I’m happy to say, yes! You can definitely freeze bananas, and what’s more, it almost doesn’t matter what state they’re in.
Whether they’re still in their skin, naked but whole, mashed or sliced, they can be kept in your freezer, ripe and ready for the next time you have some free time and a hankering for some crescentic yellow fruit.
It also might please you to hear that it doesn’t matter what stage they are in their ripening process, they’re always up for a trip to the wintry plains of your freezer.
In fact, freezing them won’t just stop general decay, it will completely halt ripening, suspending them in their current state until you defrost them.
Bananas, being as versatile as they are, aren’t just great for freezing to prevent waste. In their cryogenic form, they can be used to make scrumptious banana-flavored ice cream or even a refreshing and indulgent iced banana shake! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Depending on the state of your bananas and how you choose to freeze them, results upon defrosting may vary, but follow the guidelines we’ve compiled below, and you’ll never have to throw out another banana again.
How to Freeze Bananas
Whole Unpeeled Banana
The great thing about freezing a whole banana is that it’s already wearing its own protective coat, so although some will still like to keep it some sort of tub, feel free to just place it in your freezer wherever you can fit it, and voila!
In a couple of hours, that yellow friend will be safely frozen solid.
Sliced or Large Chunks
I enjoy freezing pre-sliced banana because it fits beautifully into a healthy breakfast routine. When you’re slicing banana onto your cornflakes, you rarely want the whole thing, but once you’ve broken the seal, it’s impossible to prevent decay, even when refrigerated, so freezing is your only option.
To freeze sliced banana, first, line a freezer-friendly tray with some baking parchment, then peel your bananas and slice them into sections that suit your eating habits. Place the slices on the tray, cover with yet another sheet of baking parchment, and place in your freezer for a couple of hours.
Once they’re frozen through, you can transfer and portion them into more space-friendly containers such as sealable bags. Just make sure you make the transfer quickly and squeeze as much air out of the bags as possible before replacing them in your freezer.
Peeled Whole Banana
It’s even easier freezing a whole peeled banana than it is freezing slices or chunks and that’s because you don’t have to worry about the separate pieces clumping together.
Simply put your banana in a sealable freezer bag, pop it in your freezer, and you’re sorted!
Freezing mashed bananas is also an absolute breeze. Simply portion your squished banana up into sealable bags or tubs and put it straight into the freezer.
The sooner you get it in there the better.
How to Defrost Bananas
There are no particularly special requirements for defrosting bananas. Unlike most foods that need to be defrosted gradually in a fridge for health and safety reasons, bananas can be safely defrosted at room temperature.
If you’re in a hurry, you can even give them 30 seconds to a minute in your microwave on a low setting, but a gentler defrost will produce a tastier treat.
Full defrost in a room temperature environment will take roughly 2 hours depending on the size or amount of banana. Don’t take it out of the bag or container. It’s best to leave it sealed until fully thawed. That way you reduce oxidation and keep it as fresh as possible.
There may be some excess moisture once the thawing process is complete so have some paper towels to hand to siphon it away from your banana(s).
If you’re in a hurry but don’t like the idea of nuking your frozen banana in the microwave, you can keep it in the freezer bag and submerge it in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes. If that’s still too long a wait for your healthy snack, why not just eat them frozen.; it’s perfectly healthy to do so.
Once defrosted, it’s best to eat bananas as soon as humanly possible because they won’t last longer than a day or two.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing Bananas
Before you throw your fruit basket in the freezer, there are a few things to think about first.
- Unpeeled bananas look old – When you recover your unpeeled bananas from the freezer, you might have a shock in that the skin has completely browned. Don’t worry; that’s perfectly normal. The same thing happens when you refrigerate banana peel. The cold breaks the skin’s cell walls, leading to the premature release of ethylene, the stuff that targets banana’s yellow pigments. They also might seem fairly slimy, especially when defrosted, but the fruit inside will be in top shape!
- While it’s perfectly fine to freeze mashed bananas, it’s best to avoid freezing totally pureed bananas as the exposed liquid content will crystallize, altering the flavor and texture.
- Freezing your banana is a great way to extend their palatable lifespan exponentially, but just as there is with every food, there is a limit to how long they can be stored before you wouldn’t want to or shouldn’t eat them. You can store bananas for up to six months, but if you want the best out of them, I recommend eating them after a maximum of two.
- Flash freezing slices or chunks of banana together in a bag will cause them to stick together into a deathly yellow iceberg. Freezing them separately on a tray before combining them will prevent this.
- You’ll need some sticky labels or a permanent pen so you can label your banana with the date before you freeze it.
Even though they’re definitely one of the more delicate fruits, bananas fare surprisingly well in the baltic depths of your freezer, and now you know it’s possible and the best ways to do it, you’ll finally get round to making that banana bread!