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Do you ever find yourself with more bananas than you know what to do with? There’s no sense in letting them go to waste. Try this easy and foolproof method to freeze bananas that look just as good coming out as they did going in.
The Best Method for Freezing Fresh Bananas
This quick and easy method of freezing bananas has saved so much fruit from the trash. The ripeness range for a lot of recipes is a pretty small window, so it’s use them or lose them. This method will keep bananas in that peak ripeness range for months, so you have a ton of time.
Make sure you never freeze bananas before they are ripe. The freezing process changes the bananas chemically, so they don’t ripen the same way after they thaw. Green bananas are a definite no, but even solid yellow bananas are probably not ready. You want to freeze only ripe or overripe bananas, so wait for signs of browning before you pop them into the freezer.
Is It Better to Freeze Bananas Whole or Sliced?
This is mostly a matter of preference, and it depends on what you’re using them for. What it comes down to is whether you want to front-load the prep or wait and worry about it when you use the bananas. Frozen whole bananas take longer to thaw, and the recipe you’re using may still call for you to slice them once they’ve returned to room temperature.
Even if you decide to freeze your bananas without slicing them, I’d recommend breaking them in half before storing them so that they take up a little less space and thaw a bit quicker. This method works great for smoothies, since you don’t need to wait for the bananas to thaw. In fact, smoothies are thicker and creamier with frozen bananas than room-temperature ones! But if the recipe you’re using requires you to mash the bananas by hand, this is so much easier with smaller pieces of banana, and the quicker thawing time goes a long way.
Can Bananas Be Frozen With the Peels?
The problem with freezing bananas in the peels is that it makes peeling them a whole lot harder. Not only do you have to wait for them to thaw completely before peeling them, but the peels themselves get harder to break. You’ll thank yourself later for taking the extra few minutes to peel them before freezing them.
Getting ready-to-go frozen bananas using this method is a breeze. Follow these 5 simple steps for the best results.
Peel: Whether you’re freezing your bananas whole or in slices, make sure to take the peels off first. If your bananas are overripe, you might want to cut the ends off and then peel them to avoid smooshing.
Break or Slice: Cut your bananas into slices, or break them into halves or thirds depending on which your favorite smoothie recipe calls for.
Place on Baking Sheet: Spread the bananas or banana slices evenly on a baking sheet. Freeze them on the baking sheet for about 1 hour, or until they’re firm enough to prevent clumping.
Move to Bag or Container: Once the bananas have hardened, use a spatula to transfer them to a double-lock freezer bag or a freezer-safe container with an airtight lid.
Freeze: Leave them sealed tightly in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How Long Do Bananas Last in the Freezer?
Bananas frozen with this method will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. Whether they’re frozen whole or sliced doesn’t really affect this. Longer than 3 months and they’ll start to lose their flavor, and may even get freezer burned. They’re still safe to eat for a little while longer, but after 6 months you’ll definitely need to toss them.
Can You Thaw and Eat Frozen Bananas?
While you can technically eat plain frozen bananas after they’ve thawed, they’re not very tasty. It’s best to use frozen bananas in smoothies, ice cream or baked goods. If you want to thaw them for baking purposes, either thaw them right in the bag or container, or dump them into a bowl first. That way, the excess liquid won’t make a mess. You can thaw them overnight in the fridge, or right on the counter if you’re planning to use them straight away.
If you don’t have time to thaw them naturally, try popping them into the microwave at half power for 15 seconds at a time until they’re soft.
Tips for Success
When it comes to smoothies and baked goods, these frozen bananas work just as well as fresh ones. Here are some tips to make them come out of the freezer exactly as good as they went in.
- Get the Air Out: Bananas get brown in the freezer through a process called oxidation, which happens when they’re exposed to the air. To prevent browning, remove as much air as possible from the container before freezing them. I personally prefer a double-lock freezer bag over a hard container for this reason. It’s just so much easier to press all the air out of a plastic baggie.
- Spritz Them With Lemon: Another way to help prevent oxidation is to lightly coat the bananas or banana slices in lemon juice before you freeze them. Just a quick spritz should be enough to stop them from browning.
- Freeze Them Ripe: If you find yourself needing to get your bananas into the freezer ASAP and they’re still pale yellow or green, try leaving them on the counter in a closed paper bag. This will help them ripen faster naturally.
Ways to Use Frozen Bananas
There are so many great ways to use frozen bananas! All of your favorite uses for fresh bananas still work, plus a few new options that the freezer unlocks.
- Banana Bread: These frozen bananas are perfect for classic banana bread. Freezing also gives you time to plan for more elaborate banana bread recipes. Try this moist and nutty Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips & Walnuts, or these warm and fluffy Banana Blueberry Muffins.
- Banana Smoothies: Drop some frozen bananas into your favorite breakfast smoothie to add a little extra body and creaminess. You can also make something a little more decadent like this Banana Chocolate Pistachio Smoothie or a Mango Pineapple Tropical Smoothie Bowl.
- Ice Cream: What better way to use frozen bananas than in everyone’s favorite frozen treat? Go for this Banana Nutella Chocolate Chip Ice Cream for the smooth, warm taste of hazelnut. Or you can get in touch with your wild side through “Funky Monkey” PB Ripple Chip Banana Ice Cream.
- Frozen Banana Pops: This one requires barely any prep. Just stick wooden skewers into the bottom of your whole bananas before freezing them, or make mini banana pops by sticking smaller toothpicks into banana slices. When you’re ready to make the pops, take them out, dip them in melted chocolate, and roll them in your topping of choice. Nuts are a healthy option, but you can also go with sprinkles or crushed candy. Pop them back into the freezer on a baking sheet until the chocolate hardens, then pull them out and enjoy!