You might think that shopping for bananas is easy; after all, the fruit is so abundantly available in all fruit markets and grocery stores. But there are a few tips on storing and selecting bananas that must be followed, so that you don’t end up with blackened, rotted bananas in your fruit basket.
Bananas are probably one of the few fruits that are picked as well as shipped when green. Bananas continue to develop flavour, color and texture when they ripen, which happens even after the fruit has been picked from the plant. After harvesting, they ripen quickly because of amix of tiny seeds, unseen to the naked eye, that are present inside this fruit. They release a mix of carbon dioxide and ethylene gas, which makes the bananas turn yellow and sweeter as they lie around in your fruit basket.
Bananas are packed with essential nutrients that benefit you in many ways. This fruit is filled with the goodness of with potassium, vitamins B6 and C and dietary fiber. In fact, bananas have also been linked to reduced risk of certain cancers according to studies conducted around the globe. Unfortunately, bananas turn bad quickly, because the ripening process doesn’t stop at harvesting. Often, the fruit rots faster than you can consume the bunch. To get the most value and health benefits from learn a little bit more about selecting the right bananas and storing them too.
Tips on selecting bananas:
- When selecting bananas, the first question you need to ask yourself is “How fast will I consume it?” This means, you will buy bananas based on your consumption requirement – already ripen ones for immediate consumption and slightly green ones to be eaten after a few days.
- The best bananas are those which have no cuts and bruises on the skin, feel firm to touch and are plump. As the bananas ripen, it will also sweeten and get softer. This change in texture is important to keep in mind. If you find bananas that are a dull grey in color, leave them because this is a sign the bananas have been over frozen or over heated and are not fresh.
- For immediate consumption, pick bananas which are yellow. The ones with blackened or brown spots are the perfectly sweet bananas with the ideal texture, though you should make sure you eat them within a day. Pick firmer green ones for eating later in the week. Don’t worry, as they ripen they will also soften and become sweeter.
- If you find that you find it difficult to peel the bananas, it isn’t fully ripe yet. Let it sit for a couple of days before you start eating the bunch. Don’t eat this banana as it will be bitter, excessively starchy and can even give you digestive distress.
- To make sure your green bananas ripen quickly, place them in a paper bag and let them sit out on the counter. Keep them away from direct heat or sunlight and don’t refrigerate them. Placing bananas in the fridge makes the skin go black faster than you would believe! Your counter is the best place to keep the bananas, and already ripe ones should sit in your fruit tray on the counter or table again.
Tips on storing bananas:
- While keeping bananas outside, either keep them upside down or use a banana stand to hang them. This prevents the bananas from getting squashed, which happens due to friction with the fruit tray or counter top.
- If you have green bananas that you want should ripen quickly, place them in a fruit bowl along with an apple. This accelerates the ripening process. Make sure this bowl is far away from any heat source or isn’t under direct sunlight.
- Should you pick a bigger bunch that you cannot consume within the day, it is possible to store bananas in the fridge. Of course, the skin will go brown but the fruit itself can be consumed without a change in flavour or texture. Before eating the banana, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before eating.
- If you want to store bananas for longer, you may freeze them. Peel bananas and out them in zip lock bags. Though the texture might not be the same, the banana will still taste good and can easily be used in desserts and smoothies after thawing.
- To freeze mashed bananas for smoothies and desserts, you can even add a tablespoon of pineapple juice in to mashed bananas and store for up to three months in a sealed airtight container.