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Most households choose to store bananas in a fruit bowl with other fruits, but within a few days the skin changes colour as they start to ripen, and by the end of the week, they can be dark brown, squishy and unappetising. In a bid to reduce the number of bananas not eaten, and wasted, Express.co.uk spoke to a range of experts about the best hacks to slow the ripening process down.
Remove from the plastic bag
Some bananas are available to buy in plastic bags, but Tash Blythe, food hygiene expert at High Speed Training previously said it’s best to remove the fruit from its packaging.
She explained: “Make sure you take bananas out of the plastic bags they are packaged in, this is because the plastic will hold in moisture the bananas release through the ethylene gas as they ripen, causing them to ripen even faster.”
Where bananas are positioned in a kitchen, also makes a difference: “Store your bananas on a countertop, or somewhere at room temperature and away from any moisture, sunlight and overly warm temperatures whilst ripening.
“Anywhere too warm will speed up the ripening process, so avoid keeping them near ovens/ warm appliances.”
Hang bananas away from other fruit
Gary Ellis, Director at CE Safety said that bananas should be “kept away from other produce”.
“Fruits such as peaches, tomatoes, avocados, figs and apples should be kept well clear of your bananas if you don’t want them to ripen too quickly,” he added.
“Keeping your bananas hanging can help to keep them fresh, as any bruising or exposure of the banana flesh itself to oxygen is only going to make ripening faster.
“Hanging the bananas allows air to move around the bananas more freely, and encourages the ethylene gas to move away from the fruit.”
There are some fruit bowls which have a specific hanging element for bananas, Gary advises against using these: “Fruit bowls with banana hangers over the top of them may look pretty, but these are just going to make your bananas ripen faster as they are near other fruits.”
You can make a banana hanger yourself by adding a small hook underneath a cabinet in the kitchen.
Wrap the stalks in clingfilm
Gary explained: “You can also use cling film on the end of your bananas once separated to slow down the ripening process.
“Wrap a small amount of cling film around the end where they are often joined together.
“This will keep them fresher for longer as it traps the ethylene gas at the top of the fruit where it emits from rather than letting it spread and exposing the other bananas to the gas.”
Cling film is not environmentally friendly, as it can’t be recycled.
Ethylene absorption balls
Mike from Kitchen Tips Online experimented with ethylene absorption balls to reduce the rate at which bananas ripen.
The balls were placed in an air-tight container, along with a few bananas and were kept in the fridge. The results were compared to a bunch of bananas that had been left out on the kitchen counter without any ethylene absorption balls.
Mike said: “Day five and six is when we start to notice a significant difference. Day eight, I noticed the bananas not in the container were significantly softer than the ones in the container.”
By day 12, the bananas in the air-tight container with the ethylene absorption balls “still had a little bit of green” on them. By day 15, the bananas were “still edible”.
Putting bananas in the fridge
Tash said: “You should never refrigerate bananas whilst they’re ripening as the cold temperature can be detrimental to the ripening process.
“However, once the bananas have ripened at room temperature, placing them in the fridge can make them last longer!
“Once they are yellow and slightly spotted, this means that they are ripe and ready to eat – place them in the fridge at this stage and after a few days, whilst the peel may indicate it’s overripe by becoming a black/ brown colour, the fruit inside should still be good to eat for a week or more,” she added.
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