In the natural world, bananas ripen on the trees they grow on. Because bananas produce a gas called ethylene, once one banana in a bunch starts to ripen, the others will generally follow quickly after. If left alone the entire bunch will ripen in a week or two, giving you ripe bananas over a period of several days.
Store bought bananas on the contrary are generally sold not quite at peak ripeness. They usually show just a hint of ripeness and are more green than yellow to lengthen their time on the shelves.
But what if you just can’t wait for the natural ripening process to take its course?
Well, continue reading below for some great tips to quickly ripen your bananas.
How Do You Know When Bananas Are Ripe?
There is no mistaking the bright yellow hue of a banana that is ripe. Whereas unripe bananas are green, ripe bananas transform into a beautiful golden yellow.
Ripe bananas can be judged by their stems. When bananas are not fully ripe, the stems will be green and hard. Once they become ripe the stems will change to brown and are usually softer to the touch.
Ripe bananas are also soft and will give way to your index finger if you press firmly on them.
Bananas also have a strong smell once they are ripe. They produce unique chemicals known as ‘esters’ which accounts for the distinctive banana smell.
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How to Ripen Bananas Quickly
If you find yourself stuck with not quite ripe bananas, there are a few tricks you can try to make them ripe.
The three most popular methods that can be used are:
- Place them in a warm room
- Place in paper bag
- Use the oven
Let us take a detailed look at each ripening method below.
Ripen Bananas by Placing Them in Warm Room
The ripening process for bananas, like many other fruits, can be sped up with the presence of heat.
Therefore by deliberately placing the bananas in a warm room, you could shave a day or two off the ripening process.
Place in a Paper Bag
Bananas produce their own ripening agent called ethylene. To keep the ethylene from evaporating, place the bananas in a paper bag that is loosely sealed to allow oxygen to enter.
Be sure to avoid bags that have wax or any other type of coating as this could interrupt the process. While plastic bags are an option, they do not allow as much oxygen in and this gas is also important for the ripening process.
To add a second layer to this process, place the bag in a warm area such as on top of your refrigerator.
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Ripen in The Oven
Bananas can also be ripened in the oven. The key to this process is the heat emitted from the source.
Simple fire up your oven to the lowest preset heat option; this should be around 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, place the unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet or tray that is lined with parchment paper.
Bake for between 20 to 30 minutes, watching the color of the bananas’ skins. Once they begin to turn dark, check to see if they feel soft. If they do not, give them an additional 10 minutes.
Bananas ripened in this way are best used immediately but can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.