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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How Long do Bananas Last in the Refrigerator?



So many bananas. So tasty.
So many bananas. So tasty.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits that we eat. It’s one of the first foods we feed babies when we begin weaning them off of formula or breast feeding. It is the word we use when teaching children what sound the letter “B” makes. What I am trying to say is that bananas are among the most visible foods in our culture today.

I don’t know exactly why we are so fascinated with bananas, but I can tell you why we put them in so many different dishes. Bananas are delicious!

This book will tell you the fascinating
history of how bananas came to dominance (from Amazon).

However, sometimes you aren’t able to use them in your recipes immediately after you purchase them. In these cases I will put them in the refrigerator where they will typically keep fresh around 5 to 7 days after ripening.

Want some bananas that will really last?
These Peanut Butter Banana Chews from Amazon are amazing.

Refrigerated bananas

Once your banana has ripened, you can put it in the refrigerator to prolong its life. This can help the banana to last anywhere from 5 to 7 days. That’s an eternity when we’re talking about a bananas life cycle.

One thing to be wary of when putting a banana in the fridge, the skin (or peel) will become a dark brown color. This happens because the cold of the refrigerator inhibits the ethylene in the banana (the hormone that helps bananas to ripen) so the yellow tint turns brown. You shouldn’t worry about this though, the peel being brown does nothing to harm the fruit itself. The banana will still taste the same as it did before.

Refrigerated bananas make great smoothies.
Here’s my recommended mason jars.

The brown skin is rather unsightly though, so if you are using a banana in dishes where the bananas presentation is important you probably should not put your banana in the fridge.

Banana pitfalls

Sure bananas are great, but they do have a major flaw. The problem with bananas is how fast they rot. They only have a shelf life of fewer than five days before spoiling once it is fully ripened. Because of this, it is of vital importance that you make sure to purchase bananas that are still in good condition.

Before they go in the fridge,
hang your bananas on this from Amazon.

Buying a banana that is near its expiration is a no, no. In fact, it is common practice to purchase this fruit before it is fully ripened. But there are a few ways to manipulate bananas

If the skin on your bananas turns brown, it won't matter if you make banana bread.
If the skin on your bananas turns brown, it won’t matter if you make banana bread.

Here’s my tips on how to keep banana bread moist.

Manipulate the life cycle of a banana

A lot of people ask the question, how do I make my bananas last longer? And there are quite a few ways to do that. One of the wonderful things about bananas is how malleable they are.

You can make them ripen faster, or you can use methods to prolong their shelf lives. It is important to note that they are not going to increase or decrease the life of a banana drastically, but they can give you some wiggle room to work with.

Make bananas ripen faster

If you purchase bananas when the skin is still green and they seem to be taking too long to ripen, you can hasten the process.

What you would need to do is get a brown paper bag and put the bananas in there. It should make the fruit reach full ripeness within a couple of days. If you want to make it happen even faster then throw an apple in the bag with it. I’m not sure how, but I guess it somehow communicates with the banana telling it to hurry up and be delicious.

Health benefits.

Bananas are more than just a delicious snack (or ingredient), they also have amazing health benefits as well. Potassium (one of the main nutrients in bananas at 450 mg) specifically, has a whole host of health benefits that keep your body performing at its peak.

Need more potassium in your diet? Try these from Amazon.

Potassium is great for preventing cramps. This is one of the reasons that professional athletes – especially long distance runners – consume bananas during breaks. The potassium in the banana regulates the fluid in your body, helping your muscles stay hydrated and preventing them from seizing up when overworked.

How to shop for bananas

Shopping for bananas is relatively easy. You want to make sure that you pick ones that don’t have any blemishes or brown spots. Additionally, make sure that they aren’t bruised anywhere and they don’t have soft spots. Bananas with soft spots are still okay to eat in the early stages, but after about a day they will become slimy. The best practice is just not to eat bruised bananas.

If you do not plan on eating the bananas immediately, then you should buy some that are still green on the outside. Bananas that still have green peels have not reached full ripeness, so they will last longer when you get them home.

Wrap – Up

We all know bananas are a great fruit. They’re delicious and beneficial to our health. The only problem with them is how quickly they go bad. But, by following this refrigeration guideline, you will be able to squeeze a few extra days out of them.

Additional Resources