How to store bananas – so they’re fresh for longer

Get the lowdown on how to store bananas to ensure this sweet fruit lasts

(Image credit: Alamy)

Be savvy about how to store bananas and you can keep the fruit fresh for longer. And, if you have to buy bananas that aren’t as ripe as you’d like, you can even speed up the ripening process so you can eat them sooner if you’re in the know about the right storage techniques.

Learn how to grow a banana tree and in some zones harvesting your own fruit is possible, in which case you’ll want to keep your crop delicious for as many days as you can. But bananas brought home from the store can retain the taste and texture you prefer with the right techniques, too, and this is how to store bananas.

How to store bananas

Bananas can ripen quickly in certain circumstances, taking them from ripe to overripe. To eat yours just how you like them follow our guide to how to store bananas.

1. Store bananas in the kitchen

Bananas can be be stored in the kitchen, but if you usually put them on the counter, be aware that they could be getting too hot. ‘Bananas should be stored at around 54ºF (12°C), as they will ripen quicker if they are too warm. A darker room without direct sunlight is ideal,’ say the experts at fresh produce company Dole.

If the bananas were sold in a plastic bag, make sure to take them out of it (and never put a bunch into a plastic bag at home to store). In the warmth and moisture of a bag the fruit quickly spoils.

If you want to prevent the bananas from becoming overripe before you are ready to eat them, don’t keep them attached to one another. ‘To keep bananas from browning quickly, break up the bunch and separate,’ advises StopFoodWaste

Keep bananas away from other fruit for maximum life, too. Both apples and avocados, for example, can speed up ripening. Of course, if you need bananas to ripen quicker, you can use this knowhow to your advantage.

2. Store bananas in the refrigerator

You may have heard that you shouldn’t put bananas into the refrigerator to keep them fresh – but you can. There’s are a couple of caveats, though. Bananas stored in the refrigerator should already be ripe when you put them in there because they won’t ripen any further once they are in the cool of that environment. 

Secondly, they’ll change color. ‘The outside will turn brown, but they will still be light colored on the inside,’ says Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, extension educator at the University of Nebraska Extension

This won’t affect the taste although we have to admit it does make them look less appealing.

3. Store sliced bananas

When you’ve sliced bananas for a dish and have some left over, the slices will turn brown because they are exposed to the air. To keep the slices looking tasty, sprinkle them with lemon, lime or pineapple juice. ‘If the slices of fruit are also wrapped airtight and kept in a cool place, they will remain appetising for longer,’ say Dole.

Read that you can use vinegar? Well, you could, but the taste wouldn’t be good.

4. Freeze bananas – after preparation

You can store bananas for longer by puréeing the flesh, or cutting it into slices, then freezing.

Remove the skin, purée, then freeze this in an ice cube tray. Alternatively, cut slices, and freeze on a tray. Once the fruit is frozen, store in a freezer bag for up to six weeks. Use it to make a smoothie or thaw in the refrigerator.

Do bananas last longer in the fridge or on the counter?

If a banana is already ripe, it can last longer kept in the refrigerator as it will prevent further ripening. 

But if a banana isn’t already ripe, don’t store it in there as it won’t ripen – you should keep green bananas out of the refrigerator. Not ready to eat them when they do turn yellow? That’s the moment to move bananas into the cool of the refrigerator so they last longer.

How do you keep bananas fresh longer?

Bananas can be kept fresh longer with a few neat tricks. Once they’re ripe, put them into the refrigerator. You’ll need to overlook the fact that the peel browns or even blackens if you do this and the fruit should still taste good in any case.

You could also try wrapping the stems of bananas in plastic wrap. Most of the ethylene gas which makes the bananas ripen faster is released here, so wrapping can help slow down the process. Sometimes you’ll find they’re sold with the stems wrapped this way, and if that’s the case, don’t remove the plastic until you want to eat them.

And to keep bananas fresh for longer don’t put them into a bowl with other fruits that release lots of ethylene when they start to ripen. Think apples, melons, peaches,  and kiwifruit. Keep bananas separately from other fruits and separate the bunch, too for better airflow.

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.