The Secret To Storing Bananas Without Bruising Them

We've all witnessed how easily fruit can develop blemishes. Perhaps you've dropped grocery store produce on the floor, handled fresh peaches a bit too roughly, or treated apples with the utmost care, only to find they still bruised. The way you store your fruit, particularly bananas, can significantly affect their quality. So, let's explore some tips on how to properly care for them.

The best storage method for bananas mimics how they grow — hanging. This prevents bruising from the pressure of other bananas, and helps them avoid the jostling associated with storing fruit in a bowl.

Another important aspect of hanging bananas is their release of ethylene gas. Ethylene influences not only ripening, but also contributes to bruising. When bananas are damaged, they emit higher amounts of ethylene, accelerating not only their own ripening, but also triggering faster ripening in other fruits. However, hanging them can mitigate ethylene's effects, extending your fruit's lifespan.

Correct storage slows the ripening process

Just like how avocados ripen faster than you can say "guacamole," bananas are also prone to ripening in the blink of an eye. To slow this process and save both your bananas and your budget, several strategies can be employed.

Besides hanging, maintaining bananas at temperatures around 54 degrees Fahrenheit — and out of direct sunlight — helps prevent rapid ripening. For example, instead of the kitchen, consider hanging them in your basement.

Wrapping the stems — and only the stems — in plastic wrap is another technique to prolong freshness. As you can likely imagine, removing bananas from a tree creates a sort of "open wound" at the stem, leading to increased ethylene release and faster ripening. Plastic wrap can seal this wound, and help decelerate the process. Of course, while wrapping each stem individually understandably yields the best results, this may be impractical if you're hanging the bunch.

How can you preserve peeled or sliced bananas?

Though an intact peel is the ideal way to protect a banana, sometimes peeling is necessary, such as when preparing snacks in advance. In these cases, you can still preserve the fruit's freshness and color with a couple of methods.

Perhaps the most simple solution is to brush or spray a peeled banana with citrus juice — pineapple, orange, or even lemon or lime juice. This limits oxidation, keeping the banana fresh for up to four days. However, be aware that the juice may impart its flavor to the banana.

Alternatively, giving peeled bananas a diluted vinegar bath can help protect against browning similarly to citrus juice, but it may also affect the flavor. If using this method, rinsing the bananas before consumption is advisable. Regardless of the treatment, store the peeled bananas in an airtight container in the fridge to maintain freshness.