How to ripen bananas fasterJuly 27, 2023
Buying green bananas can seem like a sensible choice sometimes – that way, they’re at the perfect level of ripeness when it comes time to use them. But what if your bananas won’t ripen?
Whether you’re eating them straight from the skin or using them in a recipe like banana bread, this guide will help you discover how to ripen bananas fast, so you’ll never hesitate in the supermarket again.
What is a ripe banana?
Bananas are generally picked when they start to turn from dark green to a greenish-yellow colour – and the amount of time to ripen depends on how green they are when you buy them, and how they’re stored.
Generally, a banana is deemed as ripe when it’s bright yellow in colour (it may have a few brown speckles too), it’s firm to the touch, and it’s easy to peel. After this point, the bright yellow of the skin will make way for brown: a sign that the fruit is becoming over-ripe. By this point, your bananas will be far softer to the touch, there will be brown patches on the fruit and they’re much sweeter. Don’t throw them away when this happens, though; they’re still great for banana bread.
The bananas that you buy will often still have a green tinge to them. This is because the fruit continues to ripen after it’s picked: by picking it early, it’ll have a longer shelf life. This is great if you’re wanting to keep them for a few days, but if you don’t have time, how should you ripen bananas quickly?
How to ripen bananas
The method you choose to quickly ripen bananas will depend mostly on how much time you have. Below you’ll find three different ways to do it.
- How to make bananas ripen faster if you have a few days to spare
If you’ve got a spare 1-3 days before you want your ripened bananas, then all you need is a paper bag and some patience. Pop your fruit in a paper bag and close it: the ethylene gas that bananas produce when ripening will be trapped, helping them to ripen more quickly. Don’t forget to check on them each day – some will ripen faster than others.
- How to ripen bananas in the oven
If you’ve only got a few hours to spare, your oven can do a great job of ripening bananas at speed. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone mat and place your bananas (still in their skins) on the tray. Bake them at 150C for around half an hour, checking them after 15 minutes. You’ll know when they’re done when the skin turns black and the fruit inside is soft.
- How to ripen a banana quickly in the microwave
Have the urge to make banana bread, but your bananas aren’t ripe enough? Then call on your microwave. Prick the skins all over with a fork, put them on a microwaveable plate and zap for 30 seconds at a time, stopping when you reach your desired level of softness.
How to make banana bread
Now that you know how to quickly ripen bananas, you’ll want the perfect banana bread recipe to make the most of them. HelloFresh’s banana bread recipe is gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy-free – and also gives a subtle tropical summer flavour. The recipe uses coconut flour rather than wheat flour and coconut oil rather than regular oil, with added vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate nibs and fresh blueberries. It’s packed full of flavour and perfect to share at celebrations or a simple tea time snack at home.
You can find the full recipe here.
How ripe should bananas be for banana bread?
A ripe banana is typically yellow. A banana ripe enough for banana bread is brown or black. If you’re making banana bread, you’ll want to use bananas that have skins as dark as possible: the darker the skin, the sweeter the fruit inside and the more intense the flavour. Just be sure to discard any ripe bananas that are leaking liquid, are mouldy, smell off, or that are attracting fruit flies. These will not be suitable, and could be harmful if consumed.
One small (80g) banana counts as one of your five-a-day. Thanks to their sugar and fibre content, bananas not only give you an instant energy boost, but they’ll also provide you with slow-release energy that’ll keep you going for longer. It’s just one reason why they’re a popular choice of snack both before and after exercise – the other being that their high potassium content can help reduce the risk of muscle cramps.
If you’re focused on good gut health, you’ll be pleased to hear that the starch bananas contain can have a prebiotic effect on the gut, while their high fibre content will not only help fill you up, it’ll help reduce bloating, too.
HelloFresh’s recipe development manager Mimi Morely states that “utilising bananas, particularly in recipes like banana bread is an easy way to introduce more nutrients into your diet, especially if you’re cooking for fussy eaters such as children. That’s why HelloFresh has so many delicious banana recipes!”
Try some of these delicious banana recipes at home.
Now that you know how to ripen a banana, check out the HelloFresh recipes section for more great ways to use them.