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5 Genius Ways to Quickly Ripen Bananas

Spoon University logo Spoon University 4/16/2018 Amanda Savarese

Is the bunch of bananas you just bought from the local market too green for your snacking preference? Or have you been craving banana bread and are in need for overripe bananas to make your favorite recipe? Check out these five ways to speed up the process to ripen bananas. 

You may not have thought about science since your freshman gen-chem seminars, but hear me out. Bananas give off a molecule called ethylene. You can’t see it but this compound works on processing the sugars within the fruit, allowing the banana to soften and change colors. With a little time, some warmth, and consolidation, your bananas will soon be suitable for your snacking or baking preference.

1. In a bunch: takes about 24-48 hours to ripen

ripen bananas © Abigail Wang ripen bananas

Ones that grow together, ripen together. Do not separate all the bananas at once. Only separate the one you want to eat and leave the others intact. You can even bunch up your roommate’s bananas with yours by using some foil. More consolidation means more ethylene emitted in one area.

2. Place in warm places: takes about 24-48 hours to ripen

ripen bananas © Abigail Wang ripen bananas

Place bananas in warm areas such as near a heater, above your refrigerator, or in a cooling down oven. In the latter, make sure to check on them frequently. You’ll want to pull them out when brown spots begin to form.

3. In a paper bag: takes about 12-24 hours to ripen

a close up of food: ripen bananas © Abigail Wang ripen bananas

Place bananas in a brown paper bag and close loosely. Ethylene will build up and circulate within the bag, speeding up the ripening process. Check at certain intervals in order to take them out at your desired ripeness.

#SpoonTip: Place a ripe fruit such as an apple or tomato in the bag as well. These other fruits also emit ethylene and will enhance the bananas ripening.

4. In the oven: about 15-30 minutes to ripen

This method is great to ripen bananas for recipes because heat brings out the fruit’s sugar. Bananas cannot be overly green when using this method. Put unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and place in an oven set at 300ºF. Check on them frequently because time will vary, and don’t fret if the bananas leak a bit. You know they’re done when the peels become shiny and black.

5. In the microwave: 30 seconds-2 minutes to ripen

ripen bananas © Abigail Wang ripen bananas

Take a fork or sharp knife and completely poke through the skin of the peel a couple of times on all sides. Place the banana in the microwave for 30 seconds. Let cool slightly and check if desired softness is met. If not, microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Continue this process until desired ripeness is obtained.

Related video: We're In Love With These Banana Pudding Cheesecake Bars

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