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How To Ripen Bananas

We get through so many bananas in our house. They go so quickly that they are often gone before they have had a chance to get all speckled and brown for recipes that call for ripe bananas, like the best ever tasting banana bread.

The only solution was to find out how to ripen bananas quickly so that I could get baking before they got scoffed!

how to ripen bananas

4 Ways To Ripen Bananas

1. Use A Paper Bag

This is my preferred method for ripening bananas, but only if I’m happy to wait a day to use them. If I’m in one of my organised phases and have a banana recipe or snack listed on my weekly meal planner, I’ll pop the amount of bananas I need in a paper bag the day before.

Simply place the bananas in a brown paper bag and roll the top of the bag closed.

How does a paper bag ripen a banana? Bananas emit ethylene gas which processes the natural sugars within the fruit. This makes the banana soften up and start to get flecks of brown appearing.

And if you want to speed up the ripening process even more, add an apple to the paper bag. Apples also give off the same ethylene gas which will give your bananas even more ripening power! 

2. In A Microwave

If you can’t hang about for a day waiting for bananas to ripen you might need to a microwave.

Using a fork, make some holes over the skin. This will allow the heat to get inside the banana to circulate. Place it on a microwave suitable plate and cook on high for 1 minute, but check after 30 seconds, it might not need any longer than this. I would only use this method for recipes that call for ripe bananas, not for just eating as a snack – it’s not that you can’t eat it like this, but it’s going to be quite squidgy – if you can handle the texture then go for it!

3. In An Oven

If you don’t have a microwave you can use an oven too. It will take a little longer, about 15-30 minutes. Set the oven to 150F/Gas Mark 2 and place the unpeeled bananas on a baking tray. They will be ready when the skin has gone shiny and black. Check on them at the 15 minute mark to see if they are done.  

4. In The Airing Cupboard 

If you can wait a little longer for the bananas to ripen, place them in an airing cupboard or next to a radiator for 1 to 2 days. The gentle heat will ripen them up gradually – just don’t forget they are in a cupboard!

What’s your preferred way to ripen a banana quickly? Let me know in the comments!

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