Bananas can go ripe, and then very ripe, incredibly quickly. Thankfully, overripe bananas can be used to make tasty treats like banana bread. But if you want to make the most of your bananas, buy them when they’re still green, store them at room temperature or cooler, and use the tips below.
1. Wrap the banana stems in plastic.
Bananas release ethylene gas, which accelerates the ripening process, from their stems. Wrapping the stems in plastic slows the release of ethylene. You can either cloak the stems of your bananas when they’re in a bunch or, if you want to slow the release of ethylene even further, wrap the stems of each individual fruit.
2. Hang bananas from a banana hook.
This both prevents bruising and allows for oxygen to flow around the bananas, which keeps ethylene gas from gathering around the fruit.
3. Keep bananas away from other fruits.
You should also store your unripe bananas away from other fruits like avocados, apples, pears, and tomatoes, which also produce ethylene. When stored all together, these fruits ripen and go bad quickly. (If you need to rapidly ripen an avocado, though, you can throw it in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple to speed up the process. The more you know!)
4. When they’re ripe, put your bananas in the fridge.
The peel might turn brown, but thanks to the cool temperature of your fridge, the banana inside will still be good to eat for a couple of days.
5. Coat banana slices with citrus.
Coating your banana slices with a layer of a citrus juice—whether it be lemon, lime, or orange—will keep them fresh for longer. The acid in the citrus slows oxidation. Then, store the banana pieces in the fridge in an airtight container to serve later. (You can also freeze the slices to make smoothies or banana ice cream!)