As a staple food in pantries around the world, bananas are enjoyed in everything from cereal bowls and smoothies to breads and puddings. Like many people, I grab a bunch of bananas nearly every time I make a grocery run. However, it seems like in just a blink of an eye my bananas are already turning brown. You can then defrost them when needed for some of our delicious banana recipes.
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If you’re anything like me and often find yourself with more bananas than you can consume before they go brown, you aren’t out of luck. Freezing bananas is an easy and effective way to preserve your ripe bananas for longer!
In this guide on how to freeze bananas, I’m sharing everything you need to know about freezing bananas the right way. Whether you’re looking to freeze whole bananas for banana bread or banana slices for smoothie bowls, we will cover it all. Let’s dive in.
The Process of Freezing Bananas
You can freeze bananas one of two ways—whole or sliced. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, so just choose the method that works best for you and your needs.
Freezing Whole Bananas
Freezing bananas whole involves little effort and makes measuring for recipes a breeze. All you have to do is remove the peel and place the fruit in an airtight container or freezer-safe storage bag. Whole, frozen bananas are perfect for use in smoothies or baked goods. Many recipes call for whole bananas, so you won’t need to measure.
Note: If your bananas are too large to fit in a storage container, simply cut them in half and proceed as normal.
Freezing Sliced Bananas
Many people choose to freeze sliced bananas if they aren’t sure if their blender will break down a whole one or if they don’t typically need an entire banana in a recipe. Of course, sliced bananas are also ideal for transforming into ice cream, smoothies, puddings, and milkshakes or recipes such as Quick & Easy Microwave Banana Bread Recipe.
To freeze your bananas in slices, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and slice the bananas into bite-sized pieces (roughly one inch thick). Arrange them in a single layer atop the parchment paper, making sure that none of their edges touch. You will want to freeze your bananas this way until they’re firm (about 2-3 hours). Then, transfer the banana slices to an airtight container to make sure they don’t get freezer burn.
Can You Freeze Whole, Unpeeled Bananas?
While plenty of people toss their whole, unpeeled bananas into the freezer for the sake of convenience, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you freeze your bananas with the peel intact, you’ll find that it’s a hassle to remove later. While the bananas will taste relatively the same, your future self will thank you for taking the extra thirty seconds to peel them beforehand.
How to Freeze Bananas Without Turning Brown
If your frozen bananas have gone brown, then they have likely oxidized in the freezer. Generally, this happens when your container is not sealed properly and thus allows air to slip through the cracks. The good news? Preventing oxidation is easy.
Simply seal your bananas up in an airtight container or freezer bag and double check that it’s properly closed before freezing them. If your frozen bananas have unexpectedly browned on you, it looks like you’ve got a good reason to whip up some banana bread!
How Long Can You Freeze Bananas?
Technically, frozen bananas are safe to consume for up to 6 months. However, the 3-month mark is usually when they begin to brown, regardless of how well they were stored. For that reason, I recommend consuming your frozen bananas within the first 3 months to guarantee the best flavour and texture.
How to Thaw Frozen Bananas
Frozen bananas are delicious in baked goods, but you’ll need to thaw them first. Simply remove the bananas from the freezer and allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for 2 hours. If you’re in a rush, the defrost option on a microwave will also do the trick.
Don’t fret if your bananas start to look unappetizing—this is normal! Expect your bananas to release lots of liquid and become mushy. That liquid is simply the natural moisture found in fresh bananas, so don’t be afraid to incorporate every last drop into your baking recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Freezing Bananas
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to freeze bananas.
Can you refrigerate bananas?
Refrigerating bananas will slow down the enzyme action that leads to decay. What this means is that refrigerated brown bananas will continue to ripen, yet they will do so more slowly.
Expect your refrigerated bananas to be brown, but know they are safe to eat as long as they aren’t fuzzy or oozy.
Note: Brown bananas are ideal for baked goods, as the bananas will deepen in flavour and sweetness as they darken in colour.
When should you freeze bananas?
Most recipes call for ripe bananas. Therefore, I recommend freezing them once they have ripened.
If you’re freezing bananas to use during meal prep, wait until they are dark yellow. If you’re using frozen bananas for baked goods, I recommend waiting until they are spotted brown or almost entirely brown.
How do you remove a frozen banana peel?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s tough to remove a frozen banana peel. However, where there is a will, there is a way!
To remove the peel, you will need to let your frozen bananas thaw for about 5 minutes. Then, grab a cutting board and slice off both ends. Take the remaining banana and slice it in half.
Once your banana is cut in half, gently slice each piece down the middle lengthwise. Make sure to cut deeply enough to remove the peel, yet not deep enough to cut through the flesh of the fruit.
Then, wedge your knife between the banana and its peel, and slide downwards to separate them.
How to Use Frozen Bananas
Have you successfully frozen your first batch of bananas? Congratulations! Now, it’s time to transform them into something scrumptious.
Here are some delicious banana recipes to try at home:
- How to Make Banana Pudding
- Quick & Easy Microwave Banana Bread Recipe
- How to Make a Vegan Milkshake
- Refreshing Sweet and Sour Fruit Salad for Summer
- How to Make Overnight Oats
Hayley Hutson is a full-time freelance writer and content strategist. She specializes in the food and travel industries, writing everything from blog posts and press releases to social media content for small businesses and entrepreneurs around the world. In her free time, she loves to read, cook, and travel to exciting destinations.