Bananas are one of the most popular tropical fruits that are kept on hand in kitchens around the world, but ripe bananas can become mushy in a hurry. One way to avoid this issue is to learn how to freeze bananas for later use.
Whether you freeze whole bananas or banana slices, freezing bananas for baked goods or the food processor is a great way to prevent food waste.
Can You Freeze Bananas?
Bananas can be a challenging fruit to keep around the house since they can become overripe quickly if you don’t eat them fast enough. Freezing bananas is a good way to preserve bananas for cooking and snacking without having to worry about them liquifying on the countertop.
Best Bananas to Freeze
The best way to freeze bananas is to freeze bananas that are ripe or very ripe bananas. Either bananas that are whole or smashed bananas can be frozen for later use.
Bananas in the freezer are a smart way to incorporate healthy fruit into your baking projects and snacks.
You can find indications that bananas are ripe for freezing by observing the following:
Bright yellow peel:
Bananas that are ripe will have a bright yellow peel with no green tint visible at the head of the banana where it meets the stem.
Brown spots on a yellow banana are an indication that the banana is ripe and verging into the overripe territory.
Freeze older bananas when they are ripe and almost overripe to get the best flavor out of them while also saving them from the garbage bin at the same time. Bananas that are overripe and left on the counter will rot without being saved and frozen.
How to Freeze Bananas
The way you freeze bananas depends on how you intend to use them later. You can freeze sliced bananas, whole bananas, or mashed bananas.
While it’s easy to throw brown bananas in the freezer with the intention of using them later for banana bread or smoothies, you may end up throwing them away if they aren’t easy to access for cooking.
Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Freeze Bananas
Step 1. Prepare a Freezer Tray
The easiest way to prepare bananas for freezing is to slice bananas by cutting them into pieces and then place them on a baking tray. Banana slices are easier to handle when they’re spread out on a tray since they have a tendency to stick together if you throw them together in a freezer bag while they’re still not frozen.
The frozen pieces are a lot easier to store after they’ve been frozen. Get a baking tray that is narrow enough to fit in your freezer and line it with parchment paper or wax paper.
This parchment-lined baking sheet will allow you to freeze large amounts of banana slices at once. Note that this method for freezing bananas is better for ripe bananas rather than bananas that are overripe.
Step 2. Peel the Bananas
The next step to preparing bananas for the freezer is to peel your bananas. Peeling and slicing bananas is the best way to freeze fresh bananas if you want to be able to divvy them up for recipes like smoothies or breakfast cereals.
Peel as many bananas as you intend to store in the freezer. You can throw whole bananas in the freezer, but the unpeeling part tends to be a lot messier if you do.
An easier method is to go ahead and peel the bananas before freezing.
Step 3. Slice the Bananas
Once you’ve peeled your bananas, the next step is to slice them up. Bananas should be sliced in sections of 1/3rd to 1/2 inch, depending on your preference.
After slicing the bananas, place the banana slices in a single layer across the parchment paper on the baking sheet.
Step 4. Freeze the Banana Slices
Once you have the slices of bananas laid out on the parchment paper, place the baking sheet back in the freezer and leave it to freeze for at least thirty minutes or until the banana slices have completely frozen.
Step 5. Store the Frozen Banana
After the bananas are frozen, the next step is to store the frozen bananas in an airtight container or plastic storage bag. Remove the baking tray of frozen slices of bananas from the freezer and use a spatula to separate the banana slices from the baking tray.
Place these frozen slices of bananas in a storage container and then place them back in the freezer. This is only one way you can freeze and store bananas for later use.
The thawed bananas can be used as toppings for cereal or yogurt, or you can chuck the frozen pieces in a blender to make your morning smoothie.
How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies
Freezing bananas for making smoothies is an even easier way than other ways to make bananas frozen since you don’t even have to peel and slice them. Simply throw a whole banana into the freezer peel and all and leave it for later use in a smoothie.
Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies
Step 1. Gather Leftover Bananas
To freeze some bananas for smoothies, you can use either bananas that are ripe or overripe bananas. Since the bananas will be blended into the smoothie, you won’t notice any textural issues with bananas that are overripe in this kind of recipe.
Step 2. Place Bananas in a Freezer Bag
Without peeling the bananas, place the whole bananas in a freezer bag and lay them in a single layer. Remove all the air from the freezer-safe bag, or at least as much air as possible.
Removing air from the freezer bag helps prevent the bananas from getting freezer burn.
Step 3. Freeze the Bananas
Once you have your bananas in a freezer bag, place them in the freezer and leave them there until needed. You can either place the bananas that are frozen directly in the blender for a smoothie or you can allow them to thaw out before using them.
How to Freeze Bananas for Baking
If you’re freezing pieces of bananas for baking, it’s a good idea to keep the frozen fruit measured out carefully rather than throwing a bunch of sliced banana pieces in a freezer bag and calling it good.
Tips to Successfully Freeze Bananas
How you freeze slices of bananas will depend on how you intend to use them later. Here are a few tips you can follow to freeze some bananas for later use:
Freeze whole bananas for smoothies.
You can freeze the bananas whole or break whole bananas in half and freeze for smoothies since smoothies tend to call for large amounts of banana at a time.
Freeze banana slices for cereal and baking.
Slices of bananas can be thawed out to place over oatmeal or cold breakfast cereals. Frozen banana slices are also a good option for baking since it’s easier to distribute the pieces of bananas evenly throughout the batter. Bananas that are ripe are best for this application. You can also freeze mashed bananas for use in baking goods.
The Best Time to Freeze Bananas
The best time to freeze bananas is after the bananas become ripe but before the outside of the peel begins turning brown. After the peel turns brown, this is usually an indication that the banana inside is very soft and overripe.
It is hard to freeze slices of bananas from overripe bananas. So it is important to try to catch yellow bananas before they get to this point if you want to slice them for later use.
How to Thaw Frozen Bananas
The easiest way to thaw bananas that are frozen is to allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Leaving a frozen banana in the fridge overnight allows them to thaw gradually so they don’t get too soft in the process.
If you don’t want to wait overnight for your bananas to thaw, you should be able to thaw them ahead of use for about two hours.
What Are Frozen Bananas Used For?
Bananas that are frozen can be used for a variety of different meals, especially in baked goods and breakfast foods. Here are just a few of the recipes that frozen bananas can be used for:
- Breakfast cereal
- Banana bread
- Muffins and cupcakes
- Banana pudding
These are only a handful of the different baking recipes that can potentially include frozen bananas and slices of bananas. Throw bananas in the freezer whenever you can’t use them right away. That way, you will have a supply of bananas ready whenever you need them.
Best Foods with Frozen Bananas
One of the best options for using frozen bananas is to incorporate them in frozen desserts. Thanks to their creamy texture, frozen bananas make a great substitute for less healthy frozen food options, such as ice cream.
The Best Way to Freeze Fresh Bananas
The best way to freeze fresh bananas is to freeze them as either slices or in whole frozen banana pieces. However, if you need to freeze overripe or brown bananas, an easier way to freeze them is to peel the bananas and mash them.
Mashed bananas can be frozen flat in a freezer bag. You can also use a measuring cup to freeze overripe bananas in portions for baked good recipes later.
Do You Peel Bananas Before Freezing?
For many recipes, it’s easier to peel the bananas before freezing them. This allows the banana to flash freeze more evenly. It also makes them easier to handle when you get ready to use or cook recipes with them later.
Can You Freeze Bananas in the Peel?
Yes, bananas can be frozen in the peel. You don’t even need to place them in a freezer bag if you’re planning to freeze them this way.
The peel actually acts as a natural storage. It’s easiest to store whole frozen bananas in the peel for recipes like smoothies or other recipes that use large banana pieces or whole bananas rather than mashed bananas or slices of bananas.
Can You Freeze Whole Bananas?
Whole bananas can be frozen if the peel of the banana is whole. However, it’s still smart to freeze the bananas whole in a freezer bag.
Otherwise, exposure to the air can cause parts of the banana to experience freezer burn if the bananas are left in the freezer for several weeks or months before use.
How Long Does It Take for a Banana to Freeze?
It takes a banana roughly two hours to freeze. Sliced banana will freeze much faster if it’s placed in a single layer on a baking sheet since more of the banana’s interior is exposed to the freezing air.
Otherwise, the whole banana has to freeze from the outside in.
How Long Do Frozen Bananas Last?
Even in the freezer, bananas that are ripe are one of the most perishable items you’ll store. Use up bananas that are frozen within two to three months to get good quality and flavor from them.
Do Bananas Go Brown in the Freezer?
If you leave bananas that are whole in the freezer, you’ll find that the peels go from brown to black fairly quickly. Even sliced bananas or peeled bananas can turn brown in the freezer if they’re exposed to too much oxygen.
Make sure bananas are sealed properly to prevent this.
How Do You Freeze Bananas Without Turning Brown?
When bananas are exposed to oxygen over time, this can cause them to turn brown. To avoid bananas turning brown in the freezer, store frozen bananas in airtight containers or freezer bags for use in recipes later.
Freezing Bananas Make a Tasty Treat
If you find that you can’t ever finish bananas before they ripen too much to eat, it’s great to know how to freeze bananas. Then you will be able to try slicing and freezing your bananas from now on. You’ll find yourself wasting a lot less food and trying out more of your favorite banana recipes in the bargain!
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